Agenda: May 7-May 16

Courtesy Thailand Tourism

May 7

Anniversary: Colman's Mustard (Stoke Holy Cross, England)

On May 7, 1814, Jeremiah Colman, a former flour miller, went into the mustard business, drying English and Dutch seeds in vast kilns, grinding and sifting them, and dispatching the resulting powder around the world. (The powder, mixed with seasonings and liquid, usually vinegar or wine, yields spreadable mustard.) The reputation of Colman's Mustard was sealed in 1866, when it was granted a Royal Warrant to supply mustard to Queen Victoria.

May 5-9

Bun Bangfai Rocket Festival (Yasothon, Thailand)

Watch as villagers from this northeastern province of Thailand launch hundreds of hand-fashioned rockets of all shapes and sizes into the sky in an effort to encourage plentiful rainfall during the coming rice-planting season. It's a happy festival, and spirits are likely to soar as high as the colorful rockets; whether the missiles provoke rain is an open question, but locals insist that the spectacle really does work.

For more info, visit TourismThailand.org.

May 10

Birthday: Sir Thomas Lipton (Born in 1850 in Glasgow, Scotland)

At the age of 15, Thomas J. Lipton boarded a ship and headed for America in search of work. After stints on Southern plantations and at a New York City grocery store, he returned home and opened a grocery chain, where he sold teas and other staples. By planting his own tea estates in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), Lipton dispensed with expensive middlemen and sold his tea "direct from the tea garden to the teapot" at more affordable prices.

May 13-16

Chilimjusht (Kalash, Pakistan)

This ancient holiday marks the beginning of spring for people of the Kalash tribe, in northwestern Pakistan. Amid singing, dancing, and the exchange of wine, cheese, and milk between neighbors, religious offerings of goats' milk are made by each household in the hope of bringing a prosperous agricultural season.

May 15-16

Seattle Cheese Festival

More than 250 varieties of cheese will be available for sampling for two days at Seattle's famed Pike Place Market. Specialties of the Pacific Northwest are highlighted, including a Welsh-style raw milk cheese, Landaff, from Vermont, and Mt. Townsend's own Fromage Blanc with truffles, from Mt. Townsend Creamery. Enjoy the festival's wine garden and cheese seminars. For more info, visit the Seattle Cheese Festival.