A Vegetarian Festival?
Phuket has many fun and exciting festivals, but one of the festivals, the Vegetarian Festival, is perhaps oddly named, as it is quite a macabre spectacle – of people piercing their bodies, walking on fire and putting stakes and swords into their cheeks (it sounds gruesome but keep reading for an explanation).
So what’s it all about?
The Vegetarian Festival is held in Phuket town annually over a nine-day period in October, celebrating the Chinese community’s belief that abstinence from meat will help bring them good health and peace of mind.
It is commonly thought that the festival was brought to Phuket by a Chinese opera group who fell ill with malaria while performing on the island. They decided to adhere to a strict vegetarian diet and pray to 9 Emperor Gods for purification of the mind and body. To everyone’s amazement, the opera group made a complete recovery and ever since people have held a festival, that is meant to honour the gods.
It is believed that over this nine-day period the gods inhabit the bodies of those who practice vegetarianism and to express these supernatural qualities men and women puncture their cheeks with various household objects, including skewers knives and just about anything that will puncture the skin.
The amazing thing is that little blood or scarring results from such mutilating acts.
This is definitely one to see, just find yourself a place on the street in Phuket town and wait for the procession to come past, this is an amazing place to be just to say that you’ve seen it.
You can amaze your friends and family with the stories. But this is certainly not for the fainthearted.