The Phuket Vegetarian Festival is one of the most popular and colorful event held over a nine-day period in October, celebrating the Chinese community's belief that abstinence from meat and various stimulants during the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar will help them obtain good health and peace of mind.
To everyone's amazement the opera group made a complete recovery, the people celebrated by holding a festival that was meant to honor the gods as well as express the people's happiness at surviving what was, in the 19th century, a fatal illness.
Fire walking, is one of the most exciting aspects of the festival which are held to invoke the gods. Firewalking, body piercing and other acts of self motification undertaken by participants acting as mediums of the gods. Men and women puncture their cheeks with various items including knives, skewers and other household items. It is believed that the Chinese gods will protect such persons from harm, and little blood or scarring results from such mutilation acts. This is definitely not recommended for the faint hearted to witness.
The vegetarian dishes are not easily distinguished from regular dishes - soybean and protein substitute products are used to replace meat in standard Thai fare and look and taste uncannily like meat. Look for the yellow flags with red Chinese or Thai characters to find vegetarian food stalls - and keep your camera handy!! For more information on dates and events, please visit phuketvegetarian.com
Chinese Shrines -There are over 40 Chinese shrines scattered around the island. Many of them are just small buildings but all participate in the festival. Visitors who want to experience the most of this event should visit the major shrines including the five oldest shrines in Phuket; Put Jaw, Jui Tui, Bang Niew, Cherng Talay, and Kathu Shrine.