Bun Bang Fai 2019
published 11 May
This is the fifth Bun Bang Fai celebration I have been involved with since we moved permanently to Isan in 2014. Each one follows the same basic routine, a street procession on the first day with the rockets and sometimes live music on day two. Although the theme is the same every year I get to capture heaps of photos because it is the detail where the variety happens. The costumes, the faces and the poses are different every time and that’s what makes this so enjoyable for a photographer. This is mostly a photo feast rather than requiring any insightful words of wisdom from me. What more can I say?
I thought the yellow and purple combination was a stunning contrast and the pick of the day.
A decent telephoto lens allows me to capture images that helps give a feel for the afternoon. Some of the observers are just as interesting to photograph as the main event.
This ladyboy puts in a big effort every year on costume and makeup and she is always in demand for a photo moment.
The same ladyboy from a previous year.
The portable generator to power the music truck. A must for every Isan street party.
The boy is giving the judges the ‘look’.
I lost Gaun for a while but found her dancing in front of a music truck. A lover of life is my Gaun.
A video to prove that you can both dance to Isan music and enjoy a beer at the same time. Gaun being her natural self here.
The beautiful Peng, my stepdaughter.
I just caught the moment. Love the rich colours.
You can see why I am sometimes lost for words can’t you!
A water blessing froma local monk.
The freedom to express ones natural inclination towards becoming a ladyboy is perfectly accepted here and it can happen from a very young age. This boy is part of an all female dance troup and if that’s his thing why not? In western socities we’d have him in therapy and probably ruin his life. Here it’s not a concern.
I have written about the wai, the mark of respect you will see Thais give others on more formal occasions. Here this lady is acknowledging the judges who are assessing each dance group as part of a competition. There will be a winner announced at the end.
This is a rocket festival after all so there were some floats that reflected the explosive nature of the event! only for show. The real ones are bigger.
Perfect balance Gaun. Years of training.
The wai again.
What is always nice about these type of celebrations is the range of ages involved. You get everyone from the very young to yai – grandmothers. Having fun is the only requirement for joining in.
See what I mean about the age range. Here a few yai got dressed up as schoolkids and joined in.
Thais are always happy to be photographed. Never be shy asking them.
The satellite dish sticking out of the buffalo is a bit of a mystery. Kids underneath eating (of course).
There was one music van for the youngsters and they were there in force.
Do I have a hearing problem? Sorry, what did you just ask me 🙂
Farm truck or music truck? It depends on the day!
I told you it was about fertility too.
Lots of security guys with big sticks. I have seen a few fights at these events usually between young guys, but on the whole they are geared towards families and community and are pretty relaxed.
There’s never any rubbish because everything is collected immediately for recycling.
Here’s that mix of ages again. This lady is throwing sweets at the judges. Bribery in full view!
I hope you enjoyed day one of Bun Bang Fai. We are off to Udon Thani for lunch with friends for Gaun’s birthday so Sunday, the rocket part of this moo ban’s festival won’t be covered. I will post a rocket story during this season of BBF so keep an eye out for that. Please leave a comment or hit the ‘like’ button to make my day 🙂