Phuket Vegetarian Festival
Phuket Culture | Phuket festivals and events
The Phuket Vegetarian Festival, is a Chinese event to celebrate their belief of refraining from meat and other things, at a certain time each year. Phuket Island, Thailand acknowledges this festival every year as the nine day event takes place.
The Chinese on Phuket Island, Thailand believe by observing the vegetarian festival each year it helps them to have peace of mind and be in good health.
How the vegetarian festival got started has several ideas but most locals on Phuket Island, Thailand believe historically it began when a group of Chinese fell ill with Malaria while on the island. These Chinese came up with the idea of eating nothing but vegetables and praying to the nine emperor gods for healing their mind and body.
The Chinese did recover, and soon afterward held a festival to honor the gods. Some aspects of the festival however are sometimes considered gruesome, when it comes to the ceremonies used to invoke the gods.
Fire walking, body piercing, or self-mortification by participants. This is said to be an act of being a medium of the gods.
Although, each year the ceremonial part of the vegetarian festival on Phuket Island, Thailand has become even more daring. Men and women puncture their cheeks with household utensils such as knives, skewers, and other items. They believe by the "spilling" of a little blood the Chinese gods will protect them from harm throughout the year. The festival of course is not recommended for tourists with children visiting Phuket Island, Thailand during the festival.
These ceremonies take place in the Chinese temples throughout Phuket Island, Thailand. The main temple in Phuket town is where a lantern pole is raised letting the nine gods know the festival is going to begin.
For the next few days the local Chinese/Thai community bring their household gods to the temple as well as food grown on Phuket Island, Thailand.
Other ceremonies of the vegetarian festival include the famous parades organized by the various Chinese shrines on Phuket Island, and food stands for visitors and locals to enjoy, you will not find any meat at these food stands however. Instead, there are soy and protein replacements combined with vegetables.
Last Updated: 06 Jun 2013