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".





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


Shrines in Phuket

Kathu Shrine, also called as Naitu Shrine, is the ancient and holy shrine where the first vegetarian festival being held in Phuket. There is a local legend telling that this culture was brought there by the Chinese opera troupe traveling from China for a performance at Kathu. Because of the mystery illness of many performers, the rest of band members believed that the reason was their ignorance in doing the annual righteous Vegetarianism norm which they normally had pursued back at home in China. Right after they agreed to follow their ritual at the theatre, all members were miraculously recovered. more


THINGS TO DO and not to do during The Vegetarian Festival


Killing is prohibited.

Eating any kind of meat is not allowed.

Do not steal or take anyone’s belongings.

Do not hurt or cause any trouble to anyone.

Telling lies, being rude or cursing are not allowed.

No physical contact with the opposite sex.

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.


Street Procession

This procession is to invite Hiew-Hoy (the sacred light) to bring good luck to everybody who joins in the festival. This is when the spirit mediums perform self-tortures to show the transcendent virtues of deity.


Bridge Crossing

We do this to bring good luck and protect ourselves from bad omens. We prepare paper dolls to represent our bodies. As we walk past the bridge (under which are placed a frankincense pot, representing the body and mind and seven lanterns, seven days) we vow to be begin our lives afresh and we are blessed by the priests. Everybody who walks past the bridge receives a stamp on the back of their shirt to show that they took part in this ceremony. Fire Walking These are the ceremony to clean the body and mind and to develop virtue within oneself.


Noblest spirits farewell

We invite Yok-Ong-Song-Tae back to the heaven at the temple. After that we invite Kiew-Ong-Tai-Tae back to the heaven at Sapanhin Sea. We also light up incense and candles to show homage to gods. During this ceremony everybody must kneel quietly, vow to do good thing and ask for the blessing of the spirit. After this ceremony the people are permitted to eat meat once again.


Mah-Thong (Spirit Medium)

Devotees whom the gods enter are call Ma-Thong (Spirit Medium). They manifest supernatural powers and pierce sharp objects through their bodies to bring the community good luck and present the powers of god.


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