In case you don’t know what the Rocket Festival is, it is a merit-making ceremony that takes place throughout much of Northeastern Thailand and Laos near the start of the wet season. The annual event is celebrated by the performance of music and dance routines during the first day, unleashing processions of floats during the second day, and firing competitive homemade rockets during the third day.
Rocket festivals are meant to appeal to Phaya Thaen, the god of rain, and Phra Mae Phosop, the goddess of rice. Some Thai people believe that the lavish and exuberant pyrotechnics on display at the festival can ensure a prosperous and fruitful upcoming year for them.
Pyrotechnics often use rockets that are made of bamboo and these rockets can reach astonishing heights.
The rockets leave behind an alluring double helix trail when they take off. They consist of a central rod full of solid fuel and nozzles. They are engineered to spin into the sky until they stop and head back crashing to Earth on a parachute or simply explode.
Anthropology Professor Charles F. Keyes has noted that the “Bun Bang Fai or fire rocket festival of Laos is far more elaborate in the villages than in the cities.”