Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Beware of Falling Objects!

Rocket Launching in Ban That, Amphur Pen

I have been getting a start several times a day the past week.  The television keeps running announcement for the upcoming Labour Day weekend.  Have I been in a coma and only now coming out of it have lost 4 months of my life?  Like Rip Van Winkle have I been sleeping for 4 months as the world continued to progress?  Nope ... the key is in the spelling of Labour Day.   In the USA, Labor Day is celebrated in early September.  However in much of the remainder of the world, May 1 is celebrated as "Labour Day"

Launch Row at Ban That
May 1 was quite the holiday back in the days of the former Soviet Union and its associated client states and allies.  It was during the May Day celebrations, that they would have grand parades of their military might.  In addition to thousands of marching scowl-faced soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen, the governments would wheel through their capitals their powerful rockets.

May 1st is a holiday here in Isaan, and forget about vestiges of Communist glories or glorification of the "Workers".  May 1 marks the start of the Bun Bang Fei season here and across the mighty Mekong River in Lao People's Democratic Republic.

Throughout the countryside many homemade gunpowder rockets will be launched into the sky.

In some areas, Yasothon specifically, there are grand festivals associated with the rockets, -internationally recognized and attended by many foreigners.  In many small villages, the rocket launching is more parochial and an opportunity for the local people to enjoy themselves, and perhaps even earn some extra cash before the busy days of rice planting.

Just as the mighty powers parade their rockets, the people of Isaan parade their rockets and facsimiles of their rockets or mightier rockets.  Some rockets are actually finished  at the launching site.  Many of the rockets are first brought to the local Wat to be blessed prior to launching.

Multiple Launchings In Ban That
This evening, Duang returned from her village with big news.  The Ban That Bun Bang Fei Festival, this year, will be May 1, 2, and 3rd.  This is a good sized festival with a great deal going on but not overwhelmed by tourists - thus retaining much ot its cultural uniqueness.

May 1 is also the day of the day of the Korb Siarn Khru Ceremony in Tahsang Village which commences at 9:00 A.M.  Duang is not certain that we can do both, but I am optimistic and definitely willing to try.

My brother-in-law will be performing a morlam show out at the Ban Tat Bun Bang Fei on the 3rd of May so we will spending the full day out there.


By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 1807–1882 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I shot an arrow into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where; ...

 Here in Isaan it is more like ...

They shot many rockets into the air.
They fell to earth, they knew not where nor did they seem to care ..

As the Saying Says - "Close only counts in hand grenades and horseshoes"
Well it is up tomorrow morning at 5:00 A. M. to attend a family wedding and then off to the ritual the next day and perhaps off to the rocket festival in Ban That.  It never seems to get boring around here.

Monks Enjoying Rocket Launches At Ban Tat

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