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Phuket Festival
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Phuket Vegetarian Festival

This famous festival is held from 17 to 26 October, at various Chinese temples and shrines in Phuket town.

No one is quite sure about the origins of the Phuket Vegetarian Festival, but historians reckon it was started by the Chinese community about 150 years ago. One matter is beyond doubt it is one of the most spectacular of all the vegetarian festivals held in Thailand.

The nine-day festival runs from 17 to 26 October and its roots are firmly embedded in the Chinese community's belief that abstinence from meat and various stimulants during the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar is good for body and soul.

Apart from adhering to a strict vegetarian, diet those who join the festival make offerings to the Nine Emperor Gods to to secure a year of health.

Always held on the first days of the ninth Chinese lunar month, and for nine days it exerts a serious commitment from those who participate.

They use the festival to gain cleanliness of the body through a vegetarian diet, dressing in white and abstaining from all pleasures including the consumption of alcohol and sex.

Crowds are attracted to the Phuket festival because it continues to display traditional practices that have largely disappeared in cities where the Chinese communities embrace a vegetarian diet, but little else of the ancient customs.
In Phuket town, visitors watch in awe at fire walking, body piercing and other acts of self mortification, some of the feats quite scary.

Men and women puncture their cheeks with various sharp objects, believing the Chinese gods will protect them from harm. This festival is not for the feint hearted.

There are six Chinese temples in Phuket town, but the main site is the Jui Tui Shrine, not far from the fresh food market. The traditional raising of a 10-metre high lantern pole signals the start of the festival. Celebrants believe that the Hindu god, Shiva, descends bringing spiritual power to the venue.

Apart from the spectacular and sometimes shocking displays of self mortification, there are handy escape routes to the roadside food stalls laden with an astonishing variety of vegetarian dishes.

At a glance they look like chicken or red meat dishes, such is the art of vegetarian cooking these days. Well worth a visit while on holiday in Phuket.

Thank You Information BY TAT
Website: tourismthailand.org

Phuket Vegetarian History

Phuket's Vegetarian festival (or jia chai in local Hokkien Chinese dialect) began in 1825, when the govenor of Thalang, Praya Jerm, moved the island's principal town from Ta Reua in Thalang District to Get-Hoe in Kathu District, where were tin mines and Chinese miners. Kathu was then still covered by jungle and fever was rife. It happened that a traveling opera company (called ngiu in Thai or pua-hee in Hokkien dialect) came from China to perform for the miners more

THINGS TO DO and not to do during

- Eating any kind of meat is not allowed.
- Killing is prohibited.
- Do not hurt or cause any trouble to anyone.
- Do not steal or take anyone’s belongings.
- No physical contact with the opposite sex.
- Telling lies, being rude or cursing are not allowed.
- No alcoholic beverages are allowed.
- Gambling is prohibited.
- Do not wear any fashion accessories with metal or leather.
- Do not use any kitchen utensils and containers from nor have meals with people who do not attend the Vegetarian Ceremony.

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