May 13th – 19th, 2015
At this moment, the Rocket Festival, commonly known as “Boun Bang Fai” Festival is taking place in the province of Vientiane in Laos. This is an annual Laotian cultural tradition according to the sixth lunar calendar. In every village and city of the province, the first goal is to ask the God of Rain to help farmers by bringing fertility to their lands for a good harvest, free from pesticides and insects. During this festival, communities shoot traditional homemade rockets in the air, and they all compete to win the prize for the most elegantly decorated rocked that flies the highest. They make the rockets with gun powder and bamboo. According to the legend the rockets carry the farmers’ prayers to the God of Rain. In this competition only bamboo rockets are authorised to enter the competition for safety reasons.
Different categories are integrated to the competition to select the winners. There is a category for the rockets alone including the decoration and the highest flyer (measured by altitude and trajectory). There are also prizes for the most entertaining team with the best attitude. This last category gathers a bit of everything, from putting on elaborate masks, men wearing women’s clothes, and women singing and dancing. In the tradition, if the rocket doesn’t explode, the leader and the technician of the team have to drink a rice whisky called “muddy water” or “Satho”. The celebration is also accompanied by a huge feast of delicious traditional food.
A sleepy land locked country that has recently started attracting travelers worldwide, Laos is the epitome of ‘laid back’. Although during the Rocket Festival people gather on the streets, even in its capital, Vientiane, it’s not uncommon to wonder where everyone is most days. Bamba Experience offers Hop-on Hop-off Passes as well as many different multi-day Adventure Trips to discover this beautiful country: