Phuket’s Vegetarian Festival kicks off this week

Get out your protective eye-wear and ear muffs. It’s THAT time of the year on Thailand’s southern island.
Phuket’s Vegetarian Festival kicks off subsequent week, however under the remaining Covid restrictions that limit the dimensions of crowds, etc, and so forth on the island. The Vegetarian Festival, aka. Nine Emperor Gods Festival, is an annual commemoration inviting historic Chinese spirits to come back down from the heavens to witness almost eight days of rituals and parades.
But officers worry this year’s festivities could not obtain their traditional attendance or people will be attending for shorter durations and avoiding the crowds. No strings attached , much less money will move into organisers coffers this yr. Organisers speculate that fewer people will attend because of the fears of blending in large crowds, the economic influence of the pandemic on their disposable income and the difficulties that also limit journey to the island right now.
The University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce has predicted income to drop by at least 14.5% this year to round 40 billion baht.
The Thaiger’s Caitlin Ashworth visited the final pre-Covid Vegetarian Festival in 2019. Warning! Don’t watch in case you are a bit squeamish or just had your lunch.

This year’s pageant will run from October 6 – 14.
The dates for each year’s pageant change as it’s scheduled from the Chinese lunar calendar. Last year’s competition was a more subdued affair due to Thailand’s Covid scenario. In 2016 and 2017 the occasion was also heavily impacted by, firstly, the passing of Thailand’s King Bhumibol, after which, a year later, with the funeral of the previous monarch.
For anyone who has never witnessed the pageant, it’s going to take you unexpectedly – fire walking, loud avenue processions, led by possessed Mar Song and accompanied by copious fireworks, individuals strolling with small and enormous (like spears and petrol pumps) objects pierced through their cheeks. And then there’s the final procession by way of Phuket Town the place any unused fireworks get used up in a surprising assault on all of the senses as individuals, and the thousands watching, ship the Chinese spirits back to the heavens after their week or so mixing it up with Phuket’s mortals.
The festival also promotes every week of abstinence from eating meat, consuming alcohol and indulging in a other ‘pleasures of the flesh’ for the island’s strong Thai-Chinese population. Phuket Town’s streets might be lined with stalls serving vegetarian meals..

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