Large, powerful home made rockets have recently been blasted high up into the sky in a small village just outside of Buriram.
It’s like a bit of an ASEAN space race.
As it turns out, this is actually a Bun Bang Fai. Otherwise known as a bamboo rocket festival.
Predominantly held in the north east of Thailand, these festivals normally take place just before the rainy season. According to folk law, this is intended to stimulate the gods into producing rain. Rain, of course, that will allow the farmers’ rice to grow.
An excuse to indulge in fun festivities and partying before the hard work of rice planting and farming begins, is also provided by the festival. Parading with highly decorated floats, dancing, drinking and eating are all part of the pre-rain celebrations.
Fashioned with bamboo or plastic tubing, the enormous home made rockets are packed with gunpowder and can be up to three meters in length. More like miniature ballistic missiles than fireworks, they can travel thousands of meters into the sky and travel many kilometers away.
In certain areas, permission from local air traffic control is required before launching these missiles. I should think so too.
Great pride is taken in the production of these projectiles. Status is on the line as prizes are awarded for the biggest and best rockets made. Rockets are judged on time in the air, altitude, and distance traveled.
Since it is illegal in Thailand, large red signs denote no gambling over the outcomes of air time or distance of the rockets. However, by observing the heated discussion regarding the competition, we suspect a little bit of money may perhaps be at stake.
It all seems like a good fun family day out with a little danger being thrown in for good measure.
No Gambling Sign
Up Up Up and Away!
Safety First – Some damage to a satellite dish and the offending missile.