http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-05-18/t ... 9776362[b]Gunpowder, whisky and a prayer to the gods: Thailand's rocket festival
Thamnong Chaiyanit concentrates as he plunges a metre-long drill bit directly into compressed gunpowder.
Water floods the whirring drill bit, but one spark could be the end of him, and all the other men nearby packing explosive powder and straightening bamboo.
The Angel of Time camp is an open-air workshop in Yasathorn, devoted to making rockets for the annual festivals that roll across northeast Thailand in the weeks before the monsoon. ...
Under a hot blue sky, men clamber nimbly up the wooden launch pads, lashing down their rockets with tape, leaves and a final prayer at the base of the structure.
There's a countdown to the launch but it's always followed by a few more seconds of charged excitement.
Then a roaring hiss as white smoke shoots out the bottom of the rocket until it breaks free and careens into the sky.
The men from the rocket teams — it seems to be only men, sometimes gloriously drunk — raise their hands to the heavens and whoop after a successful launch.
Outside of the 150-metre "danger zone", spectators gather under marquees and umbrellas in the 43-degree heat. ...
According to a local folktale, the reason for the rockets goes back to Praya Kankak, a Toad Prince who battled the King of the Sky, when he withheld rain for seven years.
Enlisting an army of termites to build mounds to the heavens and an airforce of hornets, the Toad Prince defeated the Sky King.
So, today rockets are fired either to remind the Sky King of his treaty with the Toad Prince or as a signal to send the rains, depending on the reading of the legend.
In Yasathorn, the story is celebrated with a five-storey giant toad, housing a museum to the legend and showcase of toad species.
This festival on the border of Thailand, Laos and Cambodia is fascinating in itself but it is also the real-life background to a movie I saw a few years ago and loved - The Rocket https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2178256/?ref_=ttpl_pl_tt