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Vegetarian Festival in Phuket

The annual vegetarian festival in Phuket will take place from October 15th to 23rd.

The Vegetarian Festival, also known as the Nine Emperor Gods Festival in Phuket, spans the first 9 days of the ninth lunar month.

Celebrating Vegetarian Festival in Phuket

Ethnic Chinese and Chinese-Thai communities conduct various rituals and ceremonies to cleanse themselves of sins, attract luck, and seek favor from the gods for the coming year.

Celebrating Vegetarian Festival in Phuket

One of the most striking yet gruesome aspects of the festival is the street processions. Specially chosen participants, known as 'Mah Song,' enter a trance-like state and pierce their cheeks, lips, and tongues with sharp objects or subject themselves to beatings with spiked maces.

One of the participants in the procession of the Vegetarian Festival in Phuket, the so-called Ma Son

It is believed that the spirits of the gods dwelling within the Mah Songs protect them from pain and scars, helping them cleanse themselves of evil and sins. These processions are accompanied by loud music, drumming, and constant firecracker explosions.

Walking on coals at a vegetarian festival in Phuket

After sunset, the next part of the festival begins. Mah Songs walk on burning coal or sharp blades, and they wipe their bodies with towels soaked in boiling oil.

Participants in the procession of the Vegetarian Festival in Phuket

In addition to these events, every day of the festival, regardless of processions, features vegetarian markets.

The Phuket Vegetarian Festival 2023 program includes celebrations in many temples throughout Phuket.

Map with Chinese temples in Phuket

All processions circle around the clock tower (near Courtyard by Marriott Phuket Town) and head towards Saphan Hin Park.

Map of the old town of Phuket, where the largest ceremonies of the Vegetarian Festival take place

The most massive and spectacular procession routes begin near the following shrines:

Bang Neow Shrine, October 20th at 7:00 AM

https://maps.app.goo.gl/AiGArcpCkV3oamEn8

Celebrating the Vegetarian Festival in Phuket

Jui Tui Shrine, October 21st at 8:00 AM

https://maps.app.goo.gl/5som6KEo2GtENbLVA

Celebrating the Vegetarian Festival in Phuket

Kathu Shrine, October 22nd at 6:45 AM

https://maps.app.goo.gl/mPvJeUEuxNhq7mgV8

Celebrating the Vegetarian Festival in Phuket

Sui Boon Tong Shrine, October 23rd at 8:00 AM

https://maps.app.goo.gl/mJLP3UaVuzBNtnw4A

Celebrating the Vegetarian Festival in Phuket

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