Discovery >

The Phuket Vegetarian Festival

October 3, 2014 by Khiri Travel | Filed Under: , , ,

Yesterday, the Phuket Vegetarian Festival (or the Nine Emperor Gods Festival) has come to an end. Phuket Branch Manager Gonzalo Gil Lavreda from Khiri Travel Thailand visited this colorful event.

Devotees at the annual Phuket Vegetarian Festival

The first time I heard about the Vegetarian Festival in Phuket I thought it was a foodie event. It was a big surprise to me when I found out that it is a long tradition that stretches back to the time of Quin and Han dynasty in China over two thousand years ago!

It starts every year on the 9th lunar month of the Chinese calendar, a date that usually falls between the end of September and early October and it lasts for nine days. During those days a multitude of events take place. Since the Vegetarian Festival’s meaning is purification and cleansing of the mind and body, a strict vegetarianism is enforced.

Perhaps more striking are the ceremonies at the numerous Chinese shrines around the island. At the altars, adorned with effigies of the Nine Emperor gods, the chosen Mah Song or spirit horses go into trance as the gods take possession and ride their bodies. The Mah Song does not feel any pain while on this state and are able to perform extraordinary feats such as walking over hot coals, walking up ladders whose steps are knives and pierce their faces and tongues with sharp objects.

The festival, processions and parades that are carried out in the old town of Phuket also have the meaning of cleansing the sins and evil and scaring bad luck and spirits away. The spirit horses are able to perform blessing to the crowd that line the street all in the customary white garment that has to be worn during the whole festival.

At 4:30 am we arrived at a shrine and watched the Mah Song going into trance, as the spirits of the gods took whole over them is an experience that has to be lived. The atmosphere was very mystical yet it all seems quiet in place, even the dramatic body piercings were carried out swiftly. Before you realize, the sun is out and the procession through town starts. Following on the steps of the Mah Song and the sedans carrying the images of the gods surrounded by the loud bang and the smoke of countless firecrackers explosions is an unforgettable experience.

The procession or parade of the Phuket Vegetarian Festival goes around Phuket Island

Latest post

Siem Reap’s World of Art, Fashion and Designers

Khiri Travel’s art and artisan tour provides visitors with exclusive insight into Siem Reap’s art world.

Read More

Laos Handicraft Festival and New Arts Tour

Every year over 200 Lao artisans travel to Vientiane to exhibit high quality handicrafts at the Laos Handicraft Festival starting this year, 30 October 2016.

Read More

Hello Vietnam! – Family Friendly Tours

If you’re planning a trip to Vietnam, don’t miss out on our three recommended destinations for families that take you

Read More

A Balanced Way to Start Your Hanoi Day

Good morning Vietnam! Let’s rise and shine and discover the best of the city before breakfast. At 6am Khiri Travel Vietnam will pick you up at your hotel, and with a guide

Read More

Subscribe to our newsletter

Our B2B newsletters are for industry professionals

[contact-form-7 id="1555" title="Newsletter"]

*We’ll never share your email address and you can opt out at any time.