Famous Phuket veg fest underway

Famous Phuket veg fest underway

The high-profile festival commenced on Monday and is on till next Tuesday. Devotees cleanse their bodies for nine days before they honour nine Taoist emperor gods.

The history of the festival in Phuket particularly dates back to 1800, when the province was inhabited mostly by Chinese miners.

Around that time, an epidemic, which spread in Kathu town, claimed the lives of many people, including members of an opera troupe from China.

A woman with a piercing on her cheek participates in the annual vegetarian festival, observed by Taoist devotees from the Thai-Chinese community in the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar, in Phuket

The troupe decided to lead locals in abstaining from eating meat and diligently prayed to the gods for nine days and nine nights in the hope of finding a cure.

People celebrate the annual vegetarian festival, observed by Taoist devotees from the Thai-Chinese community in the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar, in Phuket, Thailand

Their efforts paid off, with infected troupe members recovering from the epidemic. This led to great curiosity among the locals, who turned believers.

A man lights incense as he prays in a shrine during the annual vegetarian festival observed by devotees from a local Thai-Chinese community in the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar, in Phuket, Thailand

In present times, devotees in Phuket celebrate the festival with several activities, including a fire-walking ritual that involves walking through fire or across burning coal to cleanse oneself of any evil or bad luck.

A man with piercings on his cheek and mouth participates in the annual vegetarian festival, observed by Taoist devotees from the Thai-Chinese community in the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar, in PhuketSome devotees even take it upon themselves to go through some sort of torture, including metal piercing, to “shift the evil” of other worshipers onto themselves in an attempt to bring luck back to the community.

source: nation

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