Twisted Tuesdays, Halloween Chaos Countdown Edition: Vegetarian Festival in Phuket, Thailand
16 days until Halloween!
Yesterday was the last day of the vegetarian festival here in Thailand. The festival is lunar and is always around this time of year. It lasts ten days and the first and last day is celebrated with a parade and party with lots of deliciously fattening vegan Thai food available nation-wide. Devote followers of this particular brand of Buddhism and Hinduism are vegan for ten days for good luck and karma.
Super devote followers, typically Thai-Chinese men, end the last day of their “purification” by extreme body mutilation, especially through their cheeks, during a trance-like, supernatural state. Some also walk up a ladder of knives, submerse in hot oil, and walk through fire to prove their purity and show that they have reached the plane beyond normal human pain tolerance to the realm of spirituality.
In the island of Phuket, in the Southern part of Thailand, this celebration is the most intense. With a celebration around most of the city with people throwing fire crackers at each other, swinging swords, and playing hypnotic percussion instruments, the celebration gets very intense and it’s near impossible not to get caught up in the supernatural aspects of this festival.
I have not been to Phuket yet but have celebrated the festival in Bangkok where things are much less intense. At the Hindu temple here, the priest skewers his cheek with a thin sword and throws red spice in your eyes:
But in Phuket it’s a whole different story: