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Phuket Vegetarian Festival

Phuket Vegetarian Festival

October 10, 2015 in Phuket Events

The Phuket Vegetarian Festival is one of the noisiest, weirdest, most fascinating religious events you’ll ever witness. Held over 10 days in the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar, this year’s festival (2015) takes place from October 13-21. Across Phuket, especially in the Chinese communities of Phuket City, Thalang and Kathu, Chinese shrines become filled with devotees dressed in pure white to perform sacred rituals and physically challenging acts including walking barefoot over hot coals and climbing ladders of sharp blades.

The Vegetarian Festival’s prime and most photographed event is its processions, where people, called ‘Ma Song’, believed to have been possessed by Chinese gods walk with any number of sharp objects pierced through their cheeks from simple metal spikes to machetes to bicycle gears.

A less bloody and more palatable aspect of the festival is the hundreds of food stalls that are set up around the Chinese temples serving tasty vegetarian meals and snacks. Several restaurants throughout Phuket will switch their menus to vegan fare during the festival.