Restaurants - Entertainment - Nightlife News

Restaurants - Entertainment - Nightlife News Phuketwan Restaurants - Entertainment - Nightlife News
facebook recommendations

NEWS ALERTS

Sign up now for our News Alert emails and the latest breaking news plus new features.

Click to subscribe

Existing subscribers can unsubscribe here

RSS FEEDS

Possessed warriors at a Phuket temple during the Vegetarian Festival

Phuket Vegetarian Festival, October 18-26

Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Vegetarian Festival Photo Album Above

OF ALL THE odd experiences people have while in strange places, nothing quite prepares visitors for the Vegetarian Festival on Phuket.

Get ready to be shocked. Nothing is quite as alarming as seeing men and women parading about with objects driven through their cheeks.

It's confronting and disturbing. For those who abhor violence, it can be too much. Some people stop right there, at the first sight of a pierced cheek.

Such is the fetish for body piercing in the West these days that there are sometimes more holes in the faces of groups of onlookers than in the participants.

But the Vegetarian Festival is much more than piercing. Over nine days, the whole nature of the island changes, especially around the Chinese Temples and Phuket City.

Each day there are street parades, filled with the sound of exploding firecrackers and the sight of possessed ''warriors'' dancing barefoot to the strangest beats.

The final night in Phuket City is a Not-to-be-missed event. The whole of the old town is jam-packed with people as all the ''warriors'' gather to send the invading spirits back out to sea off Saphan Hin.

Thousands of people line the streets and the night is filled with whiz-bang rockets, exploding crackers, and some whoppers that look capable of sending a satellite to Mars.

The festival begins with a similar procession from the sea, but with the crowd spread out at the various Chinese temples.

We have yet to see a possessed ''warrior'' with a pocket camera pause to take shots, but that can't be far off . . . the Vegetarian Festival is a feast of moods and light and faces.

On any morning, you can go to a temple and watch the piercing being done. One by one, the ''warriors'' will dance into a trance before sitting down with a gloved paramedic and a bottle of Dettol to have the insertions made.

There is surprisingly little blood and gore. A pierced ''warrior,'' dressed in a traditional apron and perhaps wielding a whip, will jump off down the street, usually accompanied by friends or family to ensure his wellbeing.

Along the way, the ''warriors'' will pause to bless fruit on tables set up especially along the roadways.

Possessed women will hand out sweets to children. Sometimes, they will suck on baby pacifiers. The Vegetarian Festival is full of strange sights that stretch the boundaries of perception.

Each year the participants are urged to keep the piercing small, and each year, some ''warriors'' compete for the largest or strangest piercings.

Shrubs and trees are a firm favorite. Other ''warriors'' wrap themselves in barbed wire. Despite appearances and the noise, the festival is non-violent.

Parades from some of the temples, with older residents of Phuket Town sitting out to watch and few firecrackers, are sublimely traditional and always spiritual.

The intrinsic message: these chosen ones are taking the pain and suffering for the rest of us, for one more year.

While the festival had its beginnings in China, the communist rulers crushed this kind of activity long ago, leaving Phuket as the place where it is most widely celebrated.

Except for the west coast fleshpots, which are mostly filled with people from other parts of Thailand, daily life in Phuket changes considerably.

Thousands of adherents dress in white for the entire nine days, giving up meat, alcohol, and sex.

Scores of street stalls selling only vegetarian food, or food that looks like meat but is made from vegetable products, spring up everywhere.

Phuket has so many festivals all year long that it really should be promoted as the festival island. Phuket people know how to have fun. And strange as it may seem, the Vegetarian Festival is the most fun of all.

See it from October 18-26.

October 17

KATHU SHRINE
17.00 Lantern Pole Raising
24.00 Jade Emperor & Nine Emperor Gods Propitiation

JUI TUI SHRINE
17.09 Lantern Pole Raising
23.09 Jade Emperor & Nine Emperor Gods Propitiation

BANG NEOW SHRINE
17.00 Warriors Propitiation & Lantern Pole Raising
22.00 Jade Emperor
23.00 Nine Emperor Gods Propitation at Saphan Hin

SUI BOON TONG SHRINE
16.00 Lantern Pole Raising
24.00 Jade Emperor & Nine Emperor Gods Propitiation

SAMKONG SHRINE
17.45 Lantern Pole Raising
24.00 Jade Emperor & Nine Emperor Gods Propitiation (Yog Ong Song Tae & Kiu Ong Tai Tae)

BAN THA RUE SHRINE
17.00 Lantern Pole Raising
24.00 Jade Emperor & Nine Emperor Gods Propitiation

CHERNG THALAY SHRINE
16.59 Lantern Pole Raising
21.09 Jade Emperor Propitiation
23.00 Nine Emperor Gods Propitiation at Surin Beach

YOKKEKENG SHRINE
17.00 Lantern Pole Raising
22.30 Jade Emperor Propitiation
24.00 Nine Emperor Gods Propitiation

SAPAM SHRINE
17.45 Lantern Pole Raising
24.00 Jade Emperor & Nine Emperor Gods Propitiation

October 18

KATHU SHRINE
05.00 / 18.00 Worship of Gods

JUI TUI SHRINE
Worship of Gods

SUI BOON TONG SHRINE
20.00 Worship of Gods

SAMKONG SHRINE
Worship of Gods

BAN THA RUE SHRINE
12.00 / 19.00 Worship of Gods

CHERNG THALAY SHRINE
15.00 Food Offering to Warriors
18.00 Worship of Gods

YOKKEKENG SHRINE
Worship of Gods

SAPAM SHRINE
17.45 Birth-Death Gods Propitition at Saphanhin

October 19

KATHU SHRINE
05.00 / 18.00 Worship of Gods

JUI TUI SHRINE
Worship of Gods and Spirit Propitiation of Past Participants of the Vegetarian Festival.

SUI BOON TONG SHRINE
20.00 Worship and Propitiation of Gods

SAMKONG SHRINE
Worship of Gods

BAN THA RUE SHRINE
17.00 Worship of Gods

CHERNG THALAY SHRINE
15.00 Food Offering to Warriors
18.00 Worship of Gods

YOKKEKENG SHRINE
20.00 Worship of Gods

October 20

KATHU SHRINE
05.00 / 18.00 Worship of Gods
16.00 Warriors Propitiation
16.30 Food Offering to Warriors
19.30 Birth-Death Gods Propitiation

JUI TUI SHRINE
19.30 Food Offering to Warriors
20.45 Birth-Death Gods Propitiation

BANG NEOW SHRINE
15.00 Food Offering to Warriors

SUI BOON TONG SHRINE
15.00 Food Offering to Warriors
20.00 Worship of Gods

SAMKONG SHRINE
15.09 Food Offering to Warriors
20.00 Propitiation of Seven Stars

BAN THA RUE SHRINE
17.30 Food Offering to Warriors
18.30 Birth-Death Gods Propitiation

CHERNG THALAY SHRINE
15.00 Food Offering to Warriors
15.30 Blessing Bang Tao Village
19.00 Worship of Gods

YOKKEKENG SHRINE
15.30 Food Offering to Warriors
20.00 Birth-Death Gods Propitiation at Koh Sirey Beach

SAPAM SHRINE
07.00 Street Procession in Phuket town
15.45 Food Offering to Warriors

SAPAM SHRINE
20.00 Worship of Gods

October 21

KATHU SHRINE
05.00 / 18.00 Worship of Gods

JUI TUI SHRINE
Worship of Gods and Spirit Propitiation of Past Participants of the Vegetarian Festival

BANG NEOW SHRINE
Spirit Propitiation of Past Participants of the Vegetarian Festival

SUI BOON TONG SHRINE
20.00 Worship of Gods

SAMKONG SHRINE
05.30 Worship of Gods
07.19 Street Procession in Phuket Town
12.00 Worship of Gods
18.00 Worship of Gods

BAN THA RUE SHRINE
12.00 / 19.30 Worship of Gods

CHERNG THALAY SHRINE
15.00 Food Offering to Warriors
15.30 Blessing Manik and Cherng Thalay Villages
19.00 Worship of Gods

YOKKEKENG SHRINE
07.30 Worship of Gods
20.00 Worship of Gods

SAPAM SHRINE
Worship of Gods

October 22

KATHU SHRINE
05.00 / 18.00 Worship of Gods
19.00 Oil Bathing & Bladed - Ladder Climbing

JUI TUI SHRINE
Worship of Gods

BANG NEOW SHRINE
15.00 Food Offering to Warriors
20.00 Propitiation of Seven Stars

SUI BOON TONG SHRINE
20.00 Worship of Gods
24.00 Propitiation of Gods

SAMKONG SHRINE
05.30 Worship of Gods
15.09 Food Offering to Warriors
18.00 Worship of Gods

BAN THA RUE SHRINE
07.30 Street Procession in Phuket Town

CHERNG THALAY SHRINE
15.00 Food Offering to Warriors
20.09 Propitiation of Seven Stars
23.00 Worship of Gods

YOKKEKENG SHRINE
07.30 Worship of Gods
20.00 Worship of Gods

SAPAM SHRINE
19.00 Street Procession in Sapam Village

October 23

KATHU SHRINE
05.00 Worship of Gods
16.00 Food Offering to Warriors
18.00 Worship of Gods

JUI TUI SHRINE
15.09 Food Offering to Warriors
20.09 Fire Walking at Saphan Hin

BANG NEOW SHRINE
07.00 Street Procession in Phuket Town
15.00 Food Offering to Warriors

SUI BOON TONG SHRINE
15.00 Food Offering to Warriors
19.00 Worship of Gods
21.00 Fire Walking

SAMKONG SHRINE
05.30 Worship of Gods
15.09 Food Offering to Warriors
18.00 Worship of Gods

BAN THA RUE SHRINE
17.00 Food Offering to Warriors
20.00 Fire Walking at Shrine

CHERNG THALAY SHRINE
05.30 Worship of Gods
07.30 Street Procession in Thalang District
15.00 Food Offering to Warriors
19.30 Worship of Gods
21.30 Random Selection to Find Servants to Priests in the Next Vegetarian Festival

YOKKEKENG SHRINE
07.30 Worship of Gods
15.30 Food Offering to Warriors
20.00 Fire Walking at Shrine

SAPAM SHRINE
15.30 Food Offering to Warriors
21.00 Fire Walking at Shrine

October 24

KATHU SHRINE
05.00 Worship of Gods
16.00 Food Offering to Warriors
18.00 Worship of Gods
19.00 Propitiation of Seven Stars

JUI TUI SHRINE
08.00 Street Procession in Phuket Town
21.09 Propitiation of Seven Stars

BANG NEOW SHRINE
15.00 Food Offering to Warriors
20.00 Bladed-Ladder Climbing

SAMKONG SHRINE
05.30 Worship of Gods
15.09 Food Offering to Warriors
18.00 Worship of Gods
20.00 Bladed - Ladder Climbing

SUI BOON TONG SHRINE
19.00 Worship of Gods
21.00 Propitiation of Seven Stars

BAN THA RUE SHRINE
20.00 Propitiation of Seven Stars
20.45 Oil Bathing, Tying Children's Wrist

CHERNG THALAY SHRINE
15.00 Food Offering to Warriors
19.59 Bladed-Ladder Climbing
23.00 Worship of Gods

YOKKEKENG SHRINE
20.00 Propitiation of Seven Stars

SAPAM SHRINE
20.00 Propitiation of Seven Stars
20.00 Nail Bridge Crossing
Oil Bathing

October 25

KATHU SHRINE
05.00 Worship of Gods
07.00 Street Procession in Phuket Town
12.00 Worship of Gods
16.00 Food Offering to Warriors
18.00 Worship of Gods

JUI TUI SHRINE
20.09 Bridge Crossing for Purification

BANG NEOW SHRINE
15.00 Food Offering to Warriors
20.00 Fire Walking at Shrine
22.00 Random Selection to Find Servants to Priests in the Next Vegetarian Festival

SUI BOON TONG SHRINE
20.00 Food Offering to Warriors
24.00 Propitiation of Gods

SAMKONG SHRINE
05.30 Worship of Gods
15.09 Food Offering to Warriors
18.00 Worship of Gods
20.00 Fire Walking at Shrine

BAN THA RUE SHRINE
18.30 Street Procession in Thalang District

CHERNG THALAY SHRINE
15.00 Food Offering to Warriors
20.09 Fire Walking at Shrine
21.30 Worship of Gods

YOKKEKENG SHRINE
07.00 Street Procession in Phuket Town (join in Kathu Shrine's Procession)

SAPAM SHRINE
Worship of Gods

October 26

KATHU SHRINE
05.00 Worship of Gods
09.30 Random Selection to Find Servants to Priests in the Next Vegetarian Festival
15.00 Fire Walking at Shrine
16.00 Food Offering to Warriors
18.00 Worship of Gods
19.30 Bridge Crossing for Purification
24.00 Siva & Nine Emperor Gods and Birth-Death Gods Farewell

JUI TUI SHRINE
15.09 Food Offering to Warriors
23.09 Siva Farewell
23.45 Nine Emperor Gods Farewell at Saphanhin

BANG NEOW SHRINE
15.00 Food Offering to Warriors
18.00 Bridge Crossing for Purification
22.00 Siva & Nine Emperor Gods Farewell

SUI BOON TONG SHRINE
07.00 Street Procession in Phuket Town
20.00 Worship of Gods
21.00 Bridge Crossing for Purification
24.00 Siva & Nine Emperor Gods Farewell

SAMKONG SHRINE
05.30 Worship of Gods
15.09 Food Offering to Warriors
19.00 Bridge Crossing for Purification
23.09 Siva Farewell
24.00 Nine Emperor Gods Farewell at Saphanhin

BAN THA RUE SHRINE
17.30 Food Offering to Warriors
20.00 Bridge Crossing for Purification and Siva & Nine Emperor Gods Farewell at Nai Yang Beach

CHERNG THALAY SHRINE
05.30 Worship of Gods
15.00 Food Offering to Warriors
18.30 Bridge Crossing for Purification
21.30 Siva Farewell
22.09 Nine Emperor Gods Farewell at Surin Beach

YOKKEKENG SHRINE
07.30 Worship of Gods
15.30 Food Offering to Warriors
20.00 Bridge Crossing for Purification
22.30 Siva Farewell
24.00 Nine Emperor Gods Farewell at Koh Sirey Beach

SAPAM SHRINE
19.45 Bridge Crossing for Purification
22.45 Siva & Nine Emperor Gods Farewell

October 27

KATHU SHRINE
17.00 Lantern Pole Lowering
17.30 Warriors Farewell

JUI TUI SHRINE
17.09 Lantern Pole Lowering

BANG NEOW SHRINE
15.00 Food Offering to Warriors and Lantern Pole Lowering

SAMKONG SHRINE
17.09 Lantern Pole Lowering

BAN THA RUE SHRINE
16.45 Lantern Pole Lowering

CHERNG THALAY SHRINE
16.30 Food Offering to Warriors
17.00 Lantern Pole Lowering

YOKKEKENG SHRINE
16.00 Food Offering to Warriors
16.00 Lantern Pole Lowering

SAPAM SHRINE
15.45 Food Offering to Warriors
15.45 Lantern Pole Lowering

Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

gravatar

Dear Alan:

Thank you for your thoughtful article. I will be making my first trip to Thailand specifically to photograph the Vegetarian Festival.

I'll be arriving October 15th and staying at the Sino Hotel.

Thanks again

bill

William Hendricks
Processor of Photography
Ventura College
Ventura CA. USA

Posted by William Hendricks on September 16, 2009 00:02

gravatar

How strange it is, that in the land that is famed for its "vegetarian festival", it is so hard to find a vegetarian restaurant the remaining days of the year. In Taiwan, there are exclusively vegetarian restaurants everywhere, marked prominently with a "swastika". In Western countries, the trendy communities will have at least one vegetarian restaurant and a vegetarian/health-oriented supermarket. Thailand, though - if you say nothing, every Thai dish will include fish sauce or some other dead animal.

Posted by Tired of the act on November 26, 2010 20:49

Editor Comment:

Phuket City has a smattering of year-round vegetarian restaurants, close to the Jui Tui and Samkong temples.


Thursday December 12, 2019
Phuketwan - Your sweet Phuket, every day

FOLLOW PHUKETWAN

Facebook Twitter