The Phuket Vegetarian Festival is a nine-day event set in October, which marks the Chinese’s belief that abstaining from meat and a variety of stimulants during the “ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar” shall bring them to the path towards peace of mind and a good state of health.
Origins of Phuket’s spiritual renewal
It is unclear as to where this belief originated, but legend has it that it was brought into Thai territory when a traveling Chinese opera group, who was performing in the island of Phuket, was afflicted with malaria.Â This illness apparently made them follow a strict vegetarian diet as they prayed unto the Nine Emperor Gods for purification of their minds and bodies.Â Their prayers were answered as they underwent full recovery.
VegetarianÂ Festival in Phuket Video
It is for this reason why the practice has lingered and is still celebrated to this day.Â It stands as a symbol of appreciation because they survived such a plague.Â The festival was intended to honor the gods that they believed helped them get through the incident.Â As time went by, the festival has continued to evolve and became a landmark event that other races want to witness.
The Rituals and Ceremonies
The highlight of the Phuket Vegetarian Festival is surprisingly the intense physical rituals that people do as part of the ceremonies.Â Their reason for doing so is to invoke the gods.Â As opposed to festivities that are highlighted by immense merriments through endless singing, dancing and eating, this one is extremely different.Â What people will see are peculiar practices that are not for the weak at heart.
However, if you are indeed up for a spectacle of eeriness and horrifying pictures of a festivity – brace yourself as you witness acts of “self-mutilation” wherein participants hurt themselves – all in the name of spectacular amusement and rebirth.
Not Your Average Vegetarian Event
What you would normally see throughout the festivity are people who puncture their skin with sharp objects.Â By skin doesn’t mean just the surface of it – it