2016 Phuket Vegetarian Festival
The Phuket Vegetarian Festival is an annual event that has been going on for over 150 years. The Phuket Vegetarian Festival started in the Kathu District of Phuket Province. This years 2016 Phuket Vegetarian Festival will take place from October 1st until October 9th.
The origins of the festival remain unknown. However, many people believe that a wandering Chinese opera group brought the festival to Phuket. During this time, there was an epidemic of malaria going on and many people died as the result of the malaria. The members of the Chinese opera group also became ill due to malaria.
The Chinese opera group realized that they had not payed homage to the gods and decided to pray for nine days and follow a strict vegetarian diet. They were able to make a recovery.
The people celebrated the group's recovery by holding a festival. The purpose of the celebration was to honor the emperor gods. People also wanted to express how happy the were that the opera group survived the illness.
The Vegetarian Festival celebrates the belief that not consuming any meat during the ninth lunar month on the Chinese Calendar will bring a person peace of mind and health. It is also believed that the people who participate in the festival will have good fortune during the following year. The festival has grown rapidly in popularity ever since it first made its debut. Today, thousands of people from Asian countries fly to Phuket to attend the celebration.
CHINESE SHRINES LOCATED IN PHUKET TOWN
Phuket Town is home to over 40 shrines. Many of the shrines are small buildings. However, all of the shrines are involved in the Phuket Vegetarian Festival. People are encouraged to visit the major shrines, including Phuket's five oldest shrines. Kathu Shrine, Cherng Talay, Jui Tui, Put Jaw and Bang Niew are the oldest shrines in Phuket.
WHAT TAKES PLACE DURING THE PHUKET VEGETARIAN FESTIVAL
There are a variety of exciting things that take place during this festival. People participate in activities like body piercing and firewalking. Some people will also use knives and other household items to puncture their cheeks. The purpose of these ceremonies is to invoke the gods.
There are six Chinese temples that are in Phuket, which is where the ceremonies take place. Jui Tui Shrine is the main temple. It is located near the Phuket Town's fresh market. The raising of the Lantern Pole is the first event that takes place. The purpose of this event is to inform the gods that the festival has begun. The pole is 10 metres tall or higher. The participants believe that Shiva, who is a Hindu god, brings spiritual power to the festival when they raise the lantern.
The Thai and Chinese community will bring their household gods to temple for the next few days of the festival. They will also bring offerings of drink and food. They believe that the temple has spiritual energy and the gods will benefit from it. Visitors can observe and light joss sticks and candles. The candles and sticks are placed around the gods.
Street processions typically take place at the Phuket Vegetarian Festival. Some of the other events include climbing an eight metre ladder with sharp blades or walking across a bed of hot coals. Visitors can also eat some of the vegetarian cuisine, which can be found at markets or street stalls.
It is not always easy to distinguish the vegetarian dishes from the regular ones. Protein substitute products and soybeans are often used to replace meat in popular Chinese and Thai dishes. They look and taste just like meat. People who are planning on attending the festival are encouraged to look for the yellow flags with red Thai or Chinese characters to find stalls that sell vegetarian dishes. It is also a good idea to bring a camera to the festival.
COMMITMENTS OBSERVED DURING THE PHUKET VEGETARIAN FESTIVAL
The festival always falls during the ninth month of the Chinese Lunar Month. Everyone who participates in the Phuket Vegetarian Festival will need to observe the following commitments:
- All participants are required to keep their bodies pure during the festival.
- People will need to use clean kitchen utensils during the festival. The utensils should not be used by people who are not participating in the vegetarian festival.
- Participants will need to wear white during the festival.
- Participants will need to behave correctly both mentally and physically.
- People who are mourning should not participate in the Phuket Vegetarian Festival.
- People should abstain from sex during the festival.
- People should not drink any alcohol during the festival.
- Women who are pregnant should not participate in the ceremonies.
- Women who are menstruating should not participate in the ceremonies.
- People should not tell lies or quarrel during the festival.