Bung Fai 2012 (Rocket Festival)

Monday June 4th was Visakha Bucha Day in Thailand. This day marks the day the Lord Buddha was born, attained enlightenment, and entered into nirvana on the full moon day of the sixth lunar month, about 2,600 years ago. Monday 4th and Tuesday 5 are public holidays and it is also the time for the Rocket Festival in Northeastern Thailand which occurs over the 2 days to encourage and celebrate the coming of the rains. In the town of Viengkhuk a parade of 7 villages took place and the children of Sarnelli House participated in the parade. Floats depicting scenes from Buddha’s life and symbols of the rice harvest, very loud music, and food and dancing troupes filled the main street.  Excitement had been mounting before the big day. Girls from Nazareth House, Sarnelli House and Our Lady of Refuge, Viengkhuk were practicing Fon Lam or Isaan dancing every evening in the village of Pi Si Tong. The boys had their roles as well and all the village people came together every evening for the week before to decorate the floats and join in the work of preparing everything. On the big day the girls were up and over at Pi Si Tong by 4am getting their hair and makeup done and climbing into their costumes. Luckily there was no rain but the humidity was ever present and despite this the girl’s heavy duty makeup stayed on and the sprayed and teased hair didn’t fall down. The main street of Viengkhuk was closed to traffic and the largest Buddhist temple in the town was decorated and a fair was set up on its grounds for the crowds who had come to watch.  During the parade where the girls danced the whole way down the street and the sight of the foreigners; Lena and Marcia dancing Fon Lam in costume and Kate leading the Pi Si Tong village and holding the village sign, the crowds showed their appreciation with lots of shouts and claps. In 2 hours it was all over and Pi Si Tong came 5th out of the 7 villages. Enjoy the photos and the youtube video!   

Kate amongst the other village sign bearers
 The girls waiting pre makeup
 Ice and the boys with the cow
 Dancing Isaan style
Lena and Marcia 
Gip and Eeu
 Choke and Fa