The Phuket Vegetarian Festival is one of the most colourful and decorative events in Thailand that’s held every year around October 20th to October 28th.
The Festival celebrates the local belief that being a vegetarian – not eating any meat or other stimulants during the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar will ensure they achieve peace of mind and good health.
As this is one of the island’s seasonal festivals, be sure to make it to the country in October if you wish to be a part of this festival and its celebrations. Other festivals can also be found in some online sites such as the Events and Festivals Blog where you see which event will take place during your vacation period.
The origins behind this festival apparently stems from the story that a Chinese opera group who got sick with malaria, decided to give up meats in order to cure their illness and prayed to the Nine Emperor Gods.
Lo and behold, they were cured to everyone’s amazement. Thereafter, the festival was held in honour of the gods and in celebration of the people who survived the deadly illness!
The ceremonies to honour the gods are various and death defying, which includes firewalking, body piercing – where cheeks are punctured with knives, skewers etc.
It is believed that the Gods will protect these people from harm. The other ceremonies occur on the premises of the six Chinese Temples around Phuket, the main one being Jui Tui Shrine, where worshippers bring their own statues of gods to the temple in offering with food and drinks.
This is done with the belief that the household statues will gather some spritiual energy from the temple, as a result of the festival’s blessings and celebrations.
Numerous vegetarian dishes are sold at every street stall during this month, and especially during the procession. If you do intend on visiting, remember to wear white clothing during the festival!
Fritzjames Stephen is a travel writer, who writes content based on the myriad of experiences and indulgences that the world has to offer travellers across all walks of life. Google+