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    Bun Bang Fai Yasothon 5 to 11 May 2014

    Yasothon rocket festival

    YASOTHON, 18 April 2014: Yasothon province will host its famous rocket festival, 5 to 11 May, with teams from four Asian nations joining the festivities.

    The objective is to blast a rocket skywards in a perfect trajectory from launch sites at the provincial towns Chang Sanit Road, opposite City Hall and Phraya Than Park.

    Known locally as Bun Bang Fai Yasothon the event also features other activities leading up to the rocket displays on the last day.



    This year, teams are competing from Laos, Vietnam, Japan and South Korea. Winners are mainly decided on the power and ascent time of their rockets. Ceremonial rockets are judged on their appearance after they are paraded through town, but they are not used in the competition.

    Essentially, Bun Bang Fai, or the rocket festival, is a merit-making ceremony traditionally practiced by ethnic Lao people and Thais born in I-san (Northeast Thailand). The festival is usually held just before the rainy season to possibly remind guardian spirits to call in the monsoon. Once the rains start farmers can plant their rice in fields cleared during the dry season.

    The festival is celebrated across the northeast. The main festival towns are Udon Thani and Khon Kaen. Yasothon province is the big star where the festival is celebrated on the grandest of scales.

    Local bands entertain and spectators enjoy the Mor Lam Sing dances. The entertainment continues throughout the night with an enthusiasm only found in I-san.

    During 5 to 8 May, the rockets are assembled and tested.

    On 9 May, the street parades begin to show off the rockets, or Bang Fai Ko. These richly decorated rockets are mounted on decorated oxcarts.

    Most of the Bang Fai Ko cannot be fired. They are too heavy with all the decorations. The serious rockets are left at the launch pads and are quite drab in apperance when compared to their ceremonial brethren.

    The theme of the rocket parade comes from the Nang Ai Phadaeng legend so they are adorned as Nang Ai, a female character or Phadaeng, a male character in the legend.

    On 10 May, the rocket parade takes place with teams from Thailand and four competitive nations.

    Finally on 11 May, the Bang Fai competition takes to the skies literally. Rockets are judged by the height and distance travelled. Extra points will also be given to those who can decorate vapor trails with colours.

    If a rocket fails to ignite, or goes adrift, it is quickly thrown into a mud pond, a tradition derived from the legend, but it also helps to cool down the rocket and prevent further explosions.

    Other activities include Bang Fai cultural performances, a Bang Fai Ko beauty queen contest, food fair and OTOP products.

    The most convenient way is to fly to Ubon Ratchathani airport from Bangkok and then take a mini-van transfer or rent-a-car to cover the 200 km to Yasothon. Three airlines currently fly to Ubon Ratchathani from Bangkok: Thai Airways International (two flights daily); Thai AirAsia (two flights daily) and Nok Air (six flights daily).

    Ubon is on the southern northeast rail line so it is possible to travel by train and then transfer to a provincial bus service for the trip to Yasothon.

    There are daily bus services from Bangkoks Mor Chit terminal in Chatuchak district. The air-conditioned buses take around 10 hours to complete the trip to Yasothon. Definitely, this is the cheapest way to get there, but inter-city bus transport in Thailand is not a safe option and TTR Weekly does not recommend it.

    ttrweekly.com

  2. #2
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  3. #3
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    The Tradition has been overtaken by the gambling on a huge scale.

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