‘Naga’ Belch Nearly 800 Fireballs Into Sky (Photos)

Actress Natapohn ‘Taew’ Tameeruks leads dancers and performers to worship Naga on a riverside in Nong Khai’s Phon Phisai District.

NONG KHAI — Bang Fai observers who camped out along the Mekong River to see the waters erupt with fire from the maws of magical serpents weren’t let down Thursday night when nearly 800 fireballs shot into the sky.

Thousands of tourists and local residents turned out to Nong Kai’s Phon Pisai and Rattanawapi districts for the annual event in which legend has it the Naga stir and unleash their fireballs.

There were 772 rockets, according to an unofficial count. It was a dramatic increase over last year, which only saw 170 fireballs or bang fai.

As the opening of the Laos-influenced Rocket Festival, theatrical performances took place Thursday in many locations throughout Isaan.


The story has the naga celebrating the end of Buddhist Lent by belching magical orbs of fire into the sky. In reality, myth is blended with stagecraft to draw tourists every year to see fire shot into the sky above the river running between Thailand and Laos, along with fireworks and light shows.

Parades go through the cities of Nong Khai, Bueng Kan, Yasothon and Nakhon Phanom. Nearly 200 actors and dancers acted out the myth in performances held along the river’s bank near Wat Lam Duan.

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