Nong Khai will hold its annual Naga Fireball Festival Sept. 29-Oct. 5.

Gov. Ronnachai Chitrawiset said Wednesday that the Buddhist Lent falls on Oct. 2, so the province will start its festival five days earlier across six districts, but under new, strict disease-prevention rules.

It is expected many tourists will reserve space along the Mekong River to view the Naga fireball phenomenon in Phon Phisai and Rattanawapee districts.

The phenomenon, in which great balls of fire emerge from the surface of the Mekong River at the end of Buddhist Lent, occurs every year and some locals believe they are the breath of the mythical serpent, called Naga.

The celebration with various activities such as cultural performances will be organized in Muang District.

Among the highlights will be a light-and-sound show on the legend of mysterious Naga fireball phenomenon at 7 p.m. from Sept. 29 to Oct. 2.

Traditional dance to worship the Naga will be performed and a traditional long boat race will be held.