Bun Bang Fai - Ban Sa-AtAnother rocket festival street party - published 19 May 2019
Bun Bang Fai is an Isan (a region in the northeast of Thailand) rocket festival timed to encourage the rains to arrive for the start of the rice harvest. In fact it has a lot of general fertility cymbals, which is pretty common in rural communities worldwide.
We headed out to a street party happening in a village called Ban Sa-At close to Si Bun Ruang for Bun Bang Fai, the Isan rocket festival. Four moo bans had combined resources to put on a great dance display with four separate music trucks and dance groups. Masses of photos as always.
Each moo ban (village) buys a different set of costumes every year and I have yet to see a dance group dressed in anything other than spectacular.
And it is good to see that this village had both both males and females involved. Many of the dance groups are ladies only.
A closer view of the detail that goes into the presentation.
Each moo ban also contributes a ‘horse’ with a man and lady rider, always beautifully presented.
The party headed through the backstreets (sois) and then it all came together at a central community area where a combined dance presentation was made. It was a pleasure to be able to take some photos with a more natural background rather than the usual urban ugliness.
There’s always something more interesting on a phone than the reality in front of you.
Monks heading to the shade.
There’s a large lake hidden away at the back of this village. These are always utilitarian – they are there to supply water and that’s the end of story. You will not find cafes, bars and restaurants associated with the water, which is very much in keeping with the lakes in Canberra for any ex-neighbours reading.
Getting your Bun Bang Fai rockets blessed at the spirit shrine.
This was a new looking community area with vast expanses of concrete, which makes for very hot dancing in this case. Unfortunately if there were ever any larger shade trees they have been removed prior to development and it is unlikey any new ones will be added. Thais in mass rush to find shade in hot weather (most of the time) but when it comes to a choice between firewood and shade you can guess which one wins out.
Very classy but in my defense it was hitting 40 degrees so we needed our liquids.
A typical Isan village scene before they destroy it all. A raised house (the wood has been replaced with iron probably due to termites) and water pots.
One way to stay cool.
Rocket activity. More tomorrow.
Two new monk ordination ceremonies built into the festival.
A lum band, see video below.
One moo ban contributed a lum (percussion) band. You can hire this group. I have seen them at other events outside their own village.
I love the dramantic colours set off with the lush greens of the vegetation.
Any guesses? A rubbish bin made from rubber tyres. You see them everywhere here.
See the wall in the photo above on the right? Last year we came across a guy who was in the process of creating one of those images out of stones on a building inside the wat. It was a painstaking process to select each individual stone and cement them in place.
He was choosing stone colours to create the images.
Weeks of work.
All for nothing because someone then decided that garlish was the way to go and painted right over all that hard work. Very sad.
Paid food and drink outside.
Free food inside the temple.
Free ice cream.
More free stuff. People give away the food and rinks to gain merit.
This is not a super special temple but it has tried to be a bit different. This treed area on the right as you enter is quite nicely done although largely neglected as you’d expect.
A picture frame for Buddha!
I am not having a special go at this bloke as he seemed like a decent bloke, but evidently he’s been coming here for 13 years and should know that you always dress appropriately when you visit a temple. If he’s ignorant then it’s his partner’s role to educate him!
The dance groups pass through the temple gates.
I took the photo because I wanted to capture the mix of colours.
One of the ‘themes’ of this temple is the use of stones to create stories and images in the walls like this one.
A hot day and time for a siesta in one of the Buddha shrines!
Trucks unloading a stage for live music, which will kick off in the evening and carry on until late. Plenty of money spent on this event.
Daylight at nighttime!
Still room for a few more.
A fun if hot afternoon mixing with locals enjoying the efforts they had gone to as their contribution to Bun Bang Fai. Tomorrow we will return to view the rockets and I will report on how they are made and what they look like at launch in another post.