Bun Bang Fai 2016

One of its kind, the Bun Bang Fai or the rocket festival of Thailand is one of the most unique and exciting festivals in the world. The Bun Bang Fai rocket festival is held each year in the month of May in the Yasothon Province of northeast Thailand. This rocket festival is exactly what is says.

Rockets, rockets and yet more rockets are launched over the period of this festival which lasts for about 5 days. Rockets usually hold fascination for most people, so there is no wonder that thousands of people from all over the country and some from across the world throng to attend this annual event.

Purpose of Bun Bang Fai

  • This festival is not all fun and games, but there is actually a purpose behind it all.
  • This rocket festival is believed to have its roots in the 9th century, with the discovery of “black powder” which was produced by mixing sulfur, charcoal and saltpeter.
  • The month of May ushers in the paddy planting season and it gives the peasants a good chance to take a break just before the hard work begins.
  • The setting off of rockets to high altitudes is thought to send fire nearer to the gods in order to appease them and appeal for a good harvest.
  • One of the legends speaks of a rain god with the name of Vassakan who loved being worshipped by fire.
  • Therefore, the people made a rocket, a “Bang Fai”, which would go to heaven where this god lived.
  • On hearing their pleas, the people believed that Vassakan would be impressed and bless them with lots of rain and a good harvest.

How Bun Bang Fai is Celebrated

  • The rockets, some containing up to 25 kegs of gunpowder are paraded en route to the launch site.
  • The villagers dress in festive costumes and join in the procession.
  • The rockets are finally launched from their launch pads amid much cheering, music and dance.
  • There is a competition for the rockets which go the highest and last the longest.
  • The owners of the rockets which win are honored by the crowd.
  • The owners of those rockets which fail to launch or explode are pushed into the mud. All in all, Bun Bang Fai is a really fun festival in all respects.

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