Phuket is set to host The Vegetarian Festival this month from the 13 to the 21 October, at the island’s nine shrines. The nine-day festival will feature many exciting events including a vegetarian food fair with innumerable vegetarian food stalls. The festival’s highlight, however, is the devotees’ body-piercing parade.

This year the famous festival will be held at the nine shrines in Phuket town with the main events held at Jui Tui Shrine – the original venue of the Phuket Vegetarian Festival. Other shrines that will take part in this celebration are the Sapam Shrine; Samkong Shrine; Ban Tha Rve Shrine; Bang Neow Shrine; Cherng Thalay Shrine; Jui Tui Shrine; Kathu Shrine; Yokkekeng Shrine and Sui Boon Tong Shrine.

The main attraction of the vegetarian festival has been the ritual of body piercing done by the devotees to show their respect to their gods and to indicate that nothing can harm them. Although considered a spectacular event by many, those who dislike violence and blood should avoid this event and enjoy other fun activities instead.

Phuket Vegetarian Festival has its roots and influence from the Chinese culture. It is believed that abstinence from meat, sex, alcohol and other mundane activities during the ninth lunar month will make them healthier and help them to achieve a peaceful mind for the rest of the year.

Thai people refer to this festival as “Praphenee Kin Jay or Kin Phak” which simply means “the festival for eating vegetables”. It is considered a mega event in Phuket, expecting to attract a huge number of spectators from all over the globe every year. This annual festival is usually held in September or October depending on the lunar calendar.

The history of the Phuket Vegetarian Festival is quite unclear, but legend has it that it all started with a group of Chinese performers. The whole group got sick from the epidemic during that time but by practicing new eating habits that included abstaining from eating meat. The performers recovered from the sickness. When the neighbors saw what happened to these performers, they were impressed and started to pick up their eating routine.

Visit its official site to learn more about the festival.

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