can go as far as puncturing the cheek – through and through – with the huge, sharp object left and sustained for everyone to see! This act of self-degradation also includes body piercings, climbing bladed ladders and fire walking.Â Participants do these as they embrace the role of being “mediums of the Chinese gods” who shall protect them from harm.
This explains for the lack of massive bleeding or scarring that could result after these acts of mutilation.Â This is such a surprising phenomenon, which has drawn the stalwart participants into a higher level of belief in these gods.Â It also stroke the curious minds of the many who have crossed the seas just to witness and be part of this festival.
The Festival Location
There are about six Chinese temples in Phuket are the grounds for the festivities.Â The merriment commences when the Lantern Pole is raised, another act that intends to communicate with the gods – it is a call out to the nine Chinese gods that the festival is about to kick off.Â The raised pole signifies the descent of Shiva, the Hindu god, as it sends off spiritual power throughout the festival.
In the succeeding days, locals are expected to bring their household gods to the temple, as they believe spiritual energy within the temple will be transferred upon the gods.Â Visitors may take part in these ceremonies by lighting candles and joss sticks.
So, Where’s the “Vegetarian” Part?
As visitors bask in the ironic merriment of mutilation, there are different activities that take place simultaneously.Â There are street processions where participants may be seen to walk in a trance.Â And the streets hold a large buffet of vegetarian cuisine through the street markets and food stalls.
You must keep your expectations at a low in terms of vegetarian dishes because even if it somehow runs on that premise, they obviously focused more on the ability of the gods to heal them – even with pierced cheeks, burnt soles and wounds all over.Â Prepare for the unexpected as this is not just your ordinary festival of food, fun and laughter.