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Thursday, June 20, 2024

Bamboo Rockets Light Up Vientiane’s Skies in Annual Festival

This Week

Villages and communities across Vientiane Province came together to participate in the popular  Rocket Festival, also known as “Bun Bang Fai,” building large bamboo rockets adorned with bright colors and unique designs and launching them into the sky. The festival is celebrated yearly to call for rain for successful cultivation showing the event’s deep-rooted agricultural significance.

What is Bun Bang Fai?

Held in various parts of the country, the Rocket Festival is a lively event celebrated annually in the 6th month of the lunar calendar, typically falling between May and June each year. This aligns with the agricultural cycle and reflects the meaning of this festival as a plea for a prosperous harvest season.

Rocket Festival in Laos

Rockets are traditionally made from bamboo stuffed with gunpowder, however, the festival has evolved with the times, and today’s rockets incorporate materials such as glass or metal piping. Despite this shift in materials, the rockets maintain their diverse size range, from small handheld rockets to towering structures that demand several people to lift. 

But the festival’s connection to agriculture is not merely symbolic. The rockets are the villagers’ prayers for abundant rainfall, which is crucial for a successful harvest season. According to local belief, the louder and higher the rockets fly, the more likely the rain gods are to answer their prayers. This belief gives rise to friendly yet fierce competition among the villagers, each striving to create the rocket that will soar the highest and loudest.

The Celebration:

Before the festival, each village forms a committee to plan every detail, from inviting other villages to setting rules to drafting safety measures. The event also offers prizes for various contests, such as the most beautifully decorated rocket and the highest-flying rocket.

On the other hand, families and friends also gather before the festival to prepare for the event, crafting rockets of all shapes and sizes.

On the big day, the towns kick off a fierce competition as villages gather in open fields to launch their bamboo rockets. Judges score them based on height, decoration, and entertainment value. The entertainment category includes teams dressing up in wild costumes and performing all sorts of acts to entertain the crowds.

In addition to the rocket launches, the festival also features colorful parades, traditional performances, and other competitions, adding to the festive atmosphere. Additionally, during the celebrations, residents and visitors can enjoy various traditional foods.

Rocket Festival in Laos

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