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Naga Fireballs of Nong Khai

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At the end of October people from all around Thailand visit river near Phon Phisai to witness a true phenomenon the Naga Fireballs. Totally unexplained, great balls of fire rise up through the water and shoot into the air time and time again. A very eer
Last Modified On: Friday, 22/June/2007 04:57:23am

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Every year the Mekong River in the Nong Khai region of northern Thailand is home to a strange, beautiful and baffling phenomenon; the Naga Fireballs.   The event is known as Naga's Fireballs, because of local folklore which says the flames come from a mythical Naga, or serpent, living in the mighty waterway. On the first full moon night of October, which coincides with the end of the Buddhist Rains Retreat.  Making merit, participate in the rite of paying homage to the Naga, enjoy the illuminated boat contest. Then, the naga fireball will be happened after the sunset until late night, the fireball is the pink-orange in various sizes, non-smoke, sound and scent. It’s suddenly appeared from the Mekhong River and shoots into the sky for 50-150 meters and suddenly disappears without falling down.  

These occurrences are now the centrepiece of a two-day celebration that incorporates many elements or other traditional Thai festivals: light and sound shows, an illuminated boat contest, the King's Cup long-tailed boat race and food offerings. While these all serve to add colour and spectacle to the event, they can't detract from the real star of the show and the spiritual impact the fireballs have.

The unexplained nature of the event and its coincidence with such a religious day has led local residents to believe the fire comes from the mythical Naga (a serpent), produced as a gesture of homage to the Lord Buddha. Scientists, however, have other ideas.

While still to have proved the theory conclusively, they hold that the fireballs are the bizarre result of a series of perfectly natural occurrences. At this time of year there is an abundance of plant and animal life decomposing at the bottom of the river. These begin to emit flammable natural gases as the sun beats down on the river. These gases are only released by the gravitational pull of the moon - at its strongest when the moon is full.

 

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