Phuket Vegetarian Festival in full swing

3 Oct 2011

A haze of firecracker smoke signified the start of the annual Phuket Vegetarian Festival last Monday. Local dignitaries including Kathu mayor Chainan Sutthikul attended the official opening ceremony at Kathu Shrine.  This and other Phuket shrines saw attendees pay homage to the Jade and Nine emperor gods and invite them down from heaven.

The night sky over the island was also alight with fireworks, while traditional Chinese lion dancers paraded to the accompaniment of the firecrackers. On Tuesday, prayers and rites which pay respect to the gods began, while religious disciples performed body and mind cleansing ceremonies.   

On Friday, festival participants bathed in hot oils and and water at shrines such as Tae Gun Tae. The unique spectacle of spirit mediums walking over fire drew many religious devotees and bystanders to shrines over the weekend. 

The festival programme continues today with devotees climbing knife ladders at shrines such as Cherng Talay, while Tha Reua Shrine is the setting for a less demanding activity. After hot oil baths here, participants will tie sacred strings around the wrists of children. 

The festivities continue tomorrow with additional firewalking, knife ladder climbing and oil baths. Wednesday is the closing day of the festival and features calmer activities which revolve around prayers and wishing the gods bon voyage until next year. 

At Saphan Hin Park the celebrations will finish with a bang as fireworks displays and firecrackers are lit at 23:45. 

Tags: Phuket Vegetarian Festival

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