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The Phuket Vegetarian Festival ends in a burst of smoke and high spirits

Phuket's Piercing Parades at the Pointy End

Wednesday, October 24, 2012
PHUKET: And so it ends, not with a whimper but a very big bang. Phuket's Vegetarian Festival vanished in a puff of smoke early today, but not without a lot of noise and banner-waving first.

The Phuket festival's finale proved to be everything that it's crackered up to be, an absorbing spiritual spectacular combined with a mix of mysticism and mayhem.

Processions of possessed ma song warriors from all of Phuket's Chinese Taoist shrines converged on Phuket City in one giant cacophony of chaos.

From last night until the early hours, thousands of onlookers in white watched the remarkable conclusion to nine days of no meat, no booze and no sex for some strict adherents.

All over Phuket, barbeques were being heated from late evening, with chickens turning on spits ready for the climactic moment when purity could be put to one side again for another year.

After nine days, sacrificing themselves for all mere mortals, some of the ma song were likely to make short work of a breast or two soon after midnight.

Patched up pierced warriors will be back at work from today, perhaps with a BandAid or two indicating to colleagues just what they did over the weekend.

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