Above: The Bun Bang Fai parade.
Each year crowds gather in Thailand’s northeast town of Yasothon for the Bun Bang Fai rocket festival. On dusty plains, teams from across the Isan region compete to please the fire-loving rain god Vassakan with their homemade rockets, made from large PVC pipes packed with ground charcoal and nitrate. After the rockets launch, leaving clouds of smoke in their wake, people celebrate with a seemingly nonstop party filled with color, loud folk music, and katoey-led parades, all designed to welcome the coming rain. This year the rocket-fueled fun blasts off on May 12.
Photos by Jason Michael Lang