Phuket Vegetarian Festival 2016.

Lucky to live here on Phuket…. where many age-old traditions are still  practised… Many festivals and rituals have come into the present from the past but they do not lose their popularity in today’s life on Phuket.

The Vegetarian Festival started about 150 years ago in the Kathu district, where the majority of the Chinese tin mine workers were settled in Phuket. They formed such a large portion of the community that a group of Chinese opera performers were hired to entertain them and their families. During the Chinese ninth lunar month, Phuket was hit with an epidemic of a fatal disease and the loss of many lives.

Eventually, they realised they had forgotten to pay homage to the Nine Emperor Gods (Kiu Ong Iah) in the first nine days of the month. Thus, one of the performers was sent to China to invite the Kiu Ong Iah to Phuket. The next year the Chinese followed the tradition of refraining from eating meat, drinking alcoholic drinks, engaging in sex, quarreling, telling lies or killing. The epidemic ceased, and, every year since, the people of Phuket have continued to celebrate the festival.

Visitors are perhaps most impressed with the spectacle of people, ostensibly possessed by gods, piercing their tongues, cheeks, and other parts of the anatomy with sharp implements. Adepts apparently feel no pain, and show little or no sign of real injury.

Known around the world  the Vegetarian Festival is traditionally held in the ninth lunar month of the year.12144773_1038113349553819_6020297152316467726_n 12119119_1038113306220490_7981669432032133932_nHere are a few photos of the Masong getting prepared for the parades. Masong 1 Masong 2 Masong 3 Masong 4     12112364_1038113136220507_4931800490523601177_n 12108053_1038113369553817_4390568524503504511_n

During a period of nine days, those who are participating in the festival dress all in white and kin che  which has come to be translated as abstinence from eating meat, poultry, seafood, and dairy products. Vendors and proprietors of restaurants indicate that che food is for sale at their establishments by putting a yellow flag out with the word  (che) written on it in red. However, technically, only food prepared in the sacred kitchen of the Chinese kitchen in the temple in Thailand, called sanchao  or am  is che, as it must undergo a series of rituals before it can be given that name.

Masong  are the people who invite the spirits of gods to possess their bodies. Ma  is the word for horse in Thai, and the name masong refers to how the spirits of the gods use the bodies of these people as a vehicle, as one rides a horse. Only pure, unmarried men or women without families of their own can become masong. At the temple they undergo a series of rituals to protect them for the duration of the festival, during which flagellation and self-mutilation is practiced. The masong tradition doesn’t exist in China and is believed to have been adopted from the Indian festival of Thaipusam.

The festivities in Phuket include a procession of masong wearing elaborate costumes who pierce their cheeks and tongues with all manner of things, including swords, banners, machine guns, table lamps, and flowers. While the face is the most common area pierced, some also pierce their arms with pins and fishhooks. Teams of people12118829_1038282396203581_5849320568303981819_n 12118600_1038282802870207_1387291620244639029_n 12115488_1038282889536865_1839457911080354269_n   12107152_1038113256220495_7812575513954312320_n 12106845_1038282566203564_6944851642211688007_n 12105765_1038113212887166_6634702130720942519_n 12088484_1038283136203507_1890518093548633617_n 12088417_1038282759536878_5408729326696019455_n 12079590_1038282472870240_5474339393644013079_n 12079522_1038283199536834_2113113631081740498_n 12079194_1038283012870186_2154856754867791312_n 12079086_1038283082870179_2636941973962334164_n 12074794_1038283209536833_8145713304266995474_n 12074762_1038283259536828_760869227387511418_n 11148315_1038282349536919_8506258557385042880_n 10408699_1038282406203580_2033188448961315641_n 10383659_1038282786203542_4859323880239308354_n accompany the masong to keep their wounds clean and to help support the heavier piercings. It is believed that while they are possessed the masong will not feel any pain. They can also be seen shaking their heads back and forth continually, and usually do not seem to “see” their surroundings. At the temple during the festival there is also firewalking and blade-ladder climbing. While large crowds of people gather to watch, the entranced mahsong distribute blessed candy and pieces of orange cloth with Chinese characters printed on them yang . for good luck.

Phuket in such moments is filled with lots of stalls selling vegetarian food12143134_1038113499553804_5100780297723582555_n 12144660_1038113492887138_5807957291001793738_n and when darkness falls the  night sky lights up with beautiful fireworks that certainly are enjoyed by both children and adults.

This bright, unique and unforgettable sight,  attracts many visitors from around the world.

Last but not least many, many thanks go to my friend Katie Wellington for the lovely photos  she has allowed me to use…Thank you so much Katie………Me incapacitated sore toePlaying with water and Saang Chai and this is the result. So like a good Samaritan it was Katie to the rescue and she came up trumps for me…….Great Photos lovely lady xxxxx

Until next time enjoy love you all xxxx

Advertisements

18 thoughts on “Phuket Vegetarian Festival 2016.

    1. blondieaka Post author

      Yes there is a very rich rich culture here and it’s lovely there is always a ceremony for something particularly in the schools. Ha Ha maybe because like me you couldn’t….Nice to meet you also ..Caz 🙂

      Like

      Reply
  1. Pingback: International Weekly Link Roundup #2 | Mostly Blogging

    1. blondieaka Post author

      It’s on the mend thank you but the piercings etc the more you see the festival you see past it , they put them selves in a trance like state and have very little cuts to show when they are taken out and no infections…I suppose logically the skin stretches and then when the object is removed it goes back again 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
    1. blondieaka Post author

      Yes they look extreme but they do induce a trance like state and have very little scarring and infections …I think the more you watch the festival you see past that and really enjoy it. It is certainly a festival worth seeing 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
    1. blondieaka Post author

      It is certainly a sight to behold …unfortunately because of my foot I have been unable to attend but still a few more days to go but my lovely friend Katie has snapped her heart away and let me use them so I owe her for the photos 🙂

      Like

      Reply
    1. blondieaka Post author

      All I know is Thaipusam is a Hindu festival which honours the victory of deity Lord Murugan over demon hordes. … The word Thaipusam is derived from the 10th month in the Tamil … They are also pierced with other sharp objects. Hope that helps but I don’t know another name 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s