Sak Yant Festival
A tattoo festival in Thailand, with a twist.
If you have a desire to see a festival that is slightly out of the ordinary then you may want to consider checking out one of the most unusual festivals Thailand has to offer. In mid-March of every year thousands of people head from all over the country to a temple 50 kilometres west of Bangkok, called Wat Bang Phra.
The temple is famous for Sak-Yant, which is a spiritual tattoo given by monks, using a long sharpened bamboo stick which is dipped in ink and tapped to penetrate the skins surface. The Sak Yant is believed to protect you, but it also requires a higher level of religious commitment to truly take effect.
During the festival people attend to have their tattoos and amulets recharged, and this can have an interesting effect. Many tattoos are in the form of an animal and the devotee can start to take on some of the characteristics of its tattooed animal. People are seen leaping through the air, crawling through the grass and running on all fours. Persons with tattoos leap at the stage and an army of volunteers are always present to move into action. You will see people being calmed on the outskirts of the festival by having their ears gently stroked to suppress their animalistic urges.
Definitely one of the most interesting religious festivals in Thailand, the Tattoo Festival shows the depth of the Thai spirituality. Indeed, you will start to see tattoos in a completely new light.
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