Burma's Tazaungdaing Balloon Festival
In Burma (Myanmar) where most people work six days per week for less than a $200 monthly salary, festivals are a rare opportunity for locals to let their hair down. Festivals are orientated around the full moons of the Buddhist calendar. One such festival takes place during the week leading up to the full moon of Tazaungdaing, the November full moon. It is celebrated across the country with hot air balloon competitions. The biggest festival is held in Taunggyi, a city perched on a mountain in Shan state. Competitors make the balloons by hand and designs usually include incredible fireworks displays. Revellers flock to festival from near and far. There are no health or safety regulations and balloons regularly fail to launch and burning debris falls into the crowd. There are deaths almost every year.