Phuket Vegetarian Festival
The Phuket Vegetarian Festival is an annual event held during the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar. It is believed that the vegetarian festival and its accompanying sacred rituals bestow good fortune upon those who religiously observe this rite. During this time, local residents of Chinese ancestry strictly observe a 10-day vegetarian or vegan diet for the purposes of spiritual cleansing and merit-making. Sacred rituals are performed at various Chinese shrines and temples and aesthetic displays such as walking barefooted over hot coals and ascending ladders with bladed rungs are performed by entranced devotees known as "Ma Song".
The Vegetarian Festival is observed nationwide on a grand scale. The most famous place holding this festival is absolutely Phuket province where the most spectacular event takes place yearly. In other provinces such as Trang, Songkhla (Hat Yai) and Chon Buri (Pattaya), people of the Chinese descendants keep this festivals commonly.
However, the most known part of the festival as is shown through the media is the blood-curdling presentations, such as, piercing the cheeks with a pointed steel rod, walking barefoot on burning charcoal, sprinkling oneself with boiling oil, cutting one's tongue and climbing a ladder with rungs made of sharp blades.
The festival occurs yearly during the period from the 1st to the 9th of the 9th Chinese lunar month, which corresponds to 11-19 October. During this time almost all food shops and restaurants will fly yellow flags signifying that vegetarian food is available there. It is so convenient to have vegetarian meals during this time.
In recent years, the Vegetarian Festival has become more popular and has been increasingly observed by young people. This is so because of the belief that the observers will have better health and the purer mind and gain merits from taking vegetarian foods. This aspect, though being the main purpose of this festival, is less mentioned than the spectacular processions.
There are several interesting perspectives of the festival.
For the majority of people, these form the most absorbing part of the festival. During the performances of religious rites at the temples or in the processions, the priests or the mediums conduct various kinds of dangerous acts to show the power of their gods, to strengthen the faith of their followers and to rid them of their bad luck.
These acts include walking barefoot across a stretch of ground paved with burning charcoal, climbing up and down, also barefoot, a stepladder with a total of 72 crosspieces made of sharp iron blades, and cutting, striking or piercing parts of the body with sharp or pointed objects.
All these perilous acts are performed by or to mediums who are in hypnosis. Still, it seems inexplicable that they always escape serious injury. When the rites are over and the mediums regain consciousness, only traces of cuts are left on the skin and these are healed soon afterwards.
You may wonder whether the mediums have been hired to do the job and whether they have been trained beforehand. The reply is, they have not. All the mediums act involuntarily. But they must have faith in the gods before they can be possessed by the gods.
10 RULES FOR THE VEGETARIAN FESTIVAL
1. Cleanliness of bodies during the festival
2. Clean kitchen utensils and to use them seperately from other who do not join the festival
3. Wear white during the festival
4. Behave physically and mentally
5. No meat eating
6. No sex
7. No alcoholic drinks
8. People at mourning period should not attend the festival
9. Pragnant ladies should not watch any ritual
10. Ladies with period should not attend the ritual
This is unsee Thailand , dont warry next is Banna Festival:)