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Vegetarian Festival, Phuket

Vegetarian Festival, Phuket

Sep 24, 2015

The Phuket Vegetarian Festival

is a colourful event held

over a nine-day period in October,

celebrating the Chinese community’s belief

that abstinence from meat

 

Various stimulants during the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar

will help them obtain good health and peace of mind.

Though the origins of the festival are unclear,

it is commonly thought that the festival was bought to Phuket

by a wandering 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 the Nine Emperor Gods

to ensure purification of the mind and body.

To everyone’s amazement the opera group made a complete recovery.

The people celebrated by holding a festival that was meant to honour the gods

as well as express the people’s happiness at surviving what was,

in the 19th century, a fatal illness.

Subsequently the festival has grown and developed into a spectacular yearly

event that is attended by thousands with participants flying

in from China and other Asian destinations.

One of the most exciting aspects of the festival are the various,

(and sometimes gruesome) ceremonies which are held to invoke the gods.

Fire walking, body piercing and other acts of self mortification undertaken

by participants acting as mediums of the gods, have become more spectacula.

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