Yasothon, one of Thailand’s northeastern provinces, is organising its famous annual Rocket Festival or Bun Bang Fai Festival which this year will be held on 9-11 May, 2014. The festivals are held each May to mark the beginnings of Thailand’s rainy season and traditionally were aimed at showing respect to and appeasing the rain spirits. This would ensure that the people would be blessed with showers of plentiful rain which would allow the cultivation of rice. Legend has it that the origins of this ancient go back as far as the pre-Buddhist era and the rockets were introduced in the 9th Century when gunpowder became known in South East Asia. On the festival day itself, beautiful rockets of different styles and sizes are paraded before the crowds as they are taken to the launch site at Phaya Thaen Park. Among the many things to enjoy is a competition to find the rocket that goes the highest or furthest. As well as the hundreds of rockets being let off into the night skies, there are colourful parades in which the local people dress in their traditional costumes, fun street performances and a beauty queen contest to enjoy.