The Rocket Festival in Laos

A Rocket Festival (Boun Bang Fai) is definitely one of the more unusual festivals in Laos. Its purpose is call for the rains to begin and is also a celebration of fertility. April and May are the hottest and driest months in Laos. It’s for this reason, the rocket festivals are held to ask the god of rain to bring on the rainy season and help nurture a good harvest.
Different communities compete for the best decorated and highest travelling rocket. The rockets are generously doused with Beer Lao and quickly blessed by the monks. The rockets are paraded into place by young men carrying wooden swords. In the afternoon, people gather in the fields near to a village to launch the rockets during a large party. This kind of unbridled carnival gives rise to many excesses including men dressed as women and swords shaped in grotesque designs.