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A possessed participant in today's first  Vegetarian Festival parade

Parades Begin With Propeller and Two Guns

Sunday, October 6, 2013
Photo Album Above Contains Graphic Images

PHUKET: The Heavens opened and it was wet, wet, wet for Phuket's first Vegetarian Festival street parade of 2013 today.

Probably because small boats have been advised not to put to sea off Phuket in such bad weather, one of the mah song entranced warriors wore a propeller through his cheek.

Connections with work or sport are usually made in this fashion, so the man with guns through each cheek made bystanders wonder.

Soon the world's media will be filled with photos of the unique Phuket parades, probably frightening the life out of small children and old folks in every corner of the globe.

In truth the Phuket vegetarian festival parades are confronting but the sentiments are all good: purity, sacrifice and redemption are what the event symbolises.

And the first parade is a kind of ladies day, with female participants from the small Choor Su Gong Naka Shrine almost equalling the number of men in the procession to Phuket City.

Today's deeply symbolic parade was not intended to be a wet t-shirt competition but at times it seemed like it could become one.

Inevitably, because the ladies were less likely to be pierced, the man with the guns and the guy with the propeller through his cheek competed for attention with angelic figures bearing lotus blossoms.

Firecrackers, though, were seldom heard.

The Gods appear to have been kind in delivering a heavy dose of rain. Residents sleeping in on a Sunday south of Phuket City should be eternally grateful.

While the muddied skies over Phuket City that deluged so much this morning were expected to clear this afternoon, weather forecasters predict more rain to come.

Visitors who want a taste of the Phuket festival without the visual excitement of a parade should go to the largest of the vegetarian food street stalls in Phuket City, near the Jui Tui, Bang Neow and Samkong Shrines.

The atmosphere is always remarkable, with yellow flags and adherents all dressed in white for the nine days that the Phuket festival stops traffic.

Each day street parades will entertain onlookers, with the Sapam, Bangkoo, Cherng Talay and Hai Yian Geng shrines due to prance along Phuket roads on Monday.

It will be interesting to see whether any mah song can top the man with the guns or the guy with the propeller.

Bring an umbrella and be prepared to wince.

Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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What a bunch of attention seekers. Please stop covering these disturbed individuals. (moderated)

Posted by Medea B on October 6, 2013 11:29

Editor Comment:

An interest in other cultures is clearly not for people whose superiority complexes lead them to look down on anything they don't understand. Western is one way of thinking. Broad is a better one.

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The umbrella seems a sensible piercing choice for today.

Posted by Lana on October 6, 2013 12:01

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Ahh, tradition and culture, I think not!!!

Posted by coxo on October 6, 2013 12:14

Editor Comment:

Poor coxo, a follower of self-delusion. He parades every day of the year.

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Honestly........ The guns are pointing the wrong way Shirley???

Posted by Alison. on October 6, 2013 12:51

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Sorry Ed, if putting guns, boat propellers and all sorts of things through your cheeks is tradition then I suggest you look back a few years to get the true tradition of the festival, your comment makes no sense, only that you got out of the wrong side of bed this morning, please.

Posted by coxo on October 6, 2013 13:29

Editor Comment:

Oh, I see what you mean. It has become an expectation that unusual objects will be stuck in cheeks. Been happening for so long it's a modern adaptation of tradition. Right or wrong? The shrine authorities fail to prevent it from happening.
I get out of bed on the same side each day.

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@coxo, the piercing was not part of the original festival first celebrated approx. 180 years ago, it is something that has manifested itself in more recent times, but like many things, on Phuket, has been allowed to get out of control.

Posted by DSI Watcher on October 6, 2013 16:41

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My favourite was the guy in the Fred Flinstone digs.

Posted by Vfaye on October 6, 2013 23:34

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Good grief, you bet I'm superior to adolescents self harming and their "culture" that calls it culture.

Bio- Hazard Fest!!

Posted by Medea B on October 7, 2013 13:54

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It started in 1825 when a chinese theater troupe got sick with malaria in Phuket while on tour through SE Asia, and decided they had broken buddhist precepts by eating too much meat. So they stayed on (in Kathu) and lived as vegetarians for a period of time. The following year the local ethnic chinese started following the example of the chinese actors, and so the Vegetarian Festival was born. Originally there was no piercing or other self inflicted harm. I do agree the piercing has gone overboard, but don't care much. If they want to do it, then let them.

Posted by christian on October 7, 2013 16:44

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It's just a pity that the vegetarian festival and the freak carnival happen at the same time every year. The former want to clean their body and soul while the latter are just a bunch of lunatics.

Posted by Paul on October 7, 2013 23:44

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i wonder if mommy and daddy are proud of the boy? "here you go son, cut a slot through yout cheeks, make us a few bob"

Posted by ayjay on October 8, 2013 05:26

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Is it finished yet? I want to go shopping in Phuket town.

Posted by Buster on October 14, 2013 10:27


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