As the rainy season in Thailand begins, north-eastern provinces which rely heavily on agriculture hold the Rocket Festival, a traditional activity to pray for rain in Thailand. Farmers launch simple self-made giant rockets to ask for rainfall and bumper harvest, attracting a large number of tourists to take part in the event.
Rocket Festival, or in Thai Bun Bang Fai, is a traditional custom in north-east Thailand (also known as Isan) and Laos. Rockets can be classified into two types, round or tubular. Farmers make use of plastic tubes, wood or bamboo to make simple giant rockets, which are about three adults tall. After the rockets are filled with gunpowder, the farmers carry the huge rocket, climb onto a wooden shelf, set the rocket up, ignite and launch. If the contestant wants to win the competition, his/her rocket has to be the highest flying and with a beautiful appearance in order to impress the judges. Thailand is an agricultural-driven country which its rainy season begins after May every year. The Rocket Festival, an important festival for farmers, is usually held on the day of the full moon in May in order to pray for peace and rainfall. The celebration is quite dangerous, but it is interesting and fun. During the event, there will be Thai rain dance, other music and dance performances.
This year’s celebrating activities of Rocket Festival in Yasothon, which lasted from 8-12 May, had the largest scale among all north-east provinces. The highlight of the festival, the rocket competition, was held in the Phaya Thaen Public Park. Using rockets to send signals to God to ask for rainfall and rich harvest from the north-east farmers who rely much on rice plantation was the focus of the contest. The higher the rockets flew, the more abundant the rainfall would be in the year. For the people in Yasothon, this traditional festival is a good time for them to spend together, and also it is their childhood memory. Furthermore, this is not only an event for locals, but also for foreign tourists. Every year, the Rocket Festival in Yasothon can attract a large number of overseas tourists to the celebration. Visiting Thailand during the festival, you can definitely feel a different cultural atmosphere.