Boun Bang Fai or Rocket Festival Featured in
In Laos, you don't have to be a scientist to build a rocket. Even more, you won't even need metal nor fuel to make it fly! Every year before the rain season, the Lao people celebrate Boun Bang Fai or the Rocket Festival. This event takes place on the outskirts of Vientiane and the surrounding villages of Nason, Nathan, Kern, and some others.
Traditionally the purpose of sending rockets into the sky was to ask the god of rain "Hang" to help nature by giving it enough rain and save it from flood and drought. At the same time this was a festival of fertility, so rockets are made in phallic symbols in a humorous way. Additionally, some men may dress in women's clothes to add more fun and drama to the celebration.
Earlier rockets were made of bamboo and gunpowder, but today other materials are also used: glass, metal pipes, and modern lighting effects are added. On the day of the festival, the rocket competition is held. Teams usually represent different villages which are invited to the celebration. Rockets are scored for the height of the fly, its decoration, and the entertaining performance from the team. The event is always inspected for security measures and, of course, accompanied with a fair selling traditional food and crafts.