Have you ever seen the mysterious rain dance? Now is the chance, as the Boun Bang Fai (Rocket Festival) is being held in Laos nationwide throughout May 2014.
Laos is now in the hottest and driest season of the year, so the festival is held to call for rain with rain dance, folk theatre, and rocket-launching, regarded as one of the wildest festivals in Laos.
Usually, people will visit temples praying for rain in the morning, and gather in fields in villages and towns in the afternoon to launch self-made rockets to sky attempting to ask the god of rain, so as to ensure sufficient water for rice fields. A rocket contest will also be held to pick out the "best decorated" and the "highest traveling" rockets. Rockets are traditionally made from well-decorated bamboo, and now some are made from glass, metal pipe, etc., and the sizes vary from very big to very small.
Although celebrated throughout May, the exact dates of the festivals are staggered from place to place, thus enabling more participation and attendances. It is also a good time to taste the local foods as hosts prepare various traditional foods throughout the celebrations. Luang Prabang, Vientiane and Xieng Khouang are the best places to see this Bun Bang Fai with much unbridled revelry.
Religious ritual in the temple
What makes the festival even better is the Boun Visakha Bucha held on May 13, 2014, a significant Buddhist festival to celebrate the birth and attainment of nirvana of the Lord Buddha during the sixth full moon of the lunar calendar. Religious rituals and candlelight processions will be held in temples like Wat Visoun, Wat Mai, etc., regarded as a good way to have an enlightening experience to feel the deep spiritual culture of the country.
Going on an in-depth Laos Tour to enjoy the contrasts of these festivals is a great way to experience traditional Laos culture and customs.
Wat Mai in Luang Prabang