Phuket Vegetarian Festival underway, avoid firecrackers

FILE PHOTO: The Phuket Vegetarian Festival kicked off yesterday.

The Phuket Vegetarian Festival officially kicked off and will last for nine days. The festival launched yesterday with Minister of Public Health Anutin Charnvirakul in attendance at the opening ceremony. The ceremony began the festival which will run daily until October 4.

Anutin, who also serves as Deputy Prime Minister and is considered a potential Bhumjaithai Party candidate for prime minister in next year’s election, was in attendance at the Jui Tui Shrine for the opening ceremony yesterday. The Go Teng Pole was raised during the ceremony which signals the start of the festival.

The Vegetarian Festival invites participation and local Thai and Chinese people joined in the celebration. Tourists also often flock to the festival to enjoy the activities. Spirit mediums are at every shine throughout the festival each day to channel the gods and spirits and offer blessings. Both neighbourhood residents and people passing by are invited to receive blessings.

While they encourage participation, city officials have issued a safety warning urging people to avoid powerful firecrackers. People traditionally celebrate the Vegetarian Festival by lighting firecrackers. But the Phuket City Municipality issued a statement forbidding what they described as “intense.” firecrackers.

They warn that selling or playing with what is considered intense firecrackers is not allowed. During the Vegetarian Festival, streets are busier than usual with crowds of people celebrating. Firecrackers set off can injure or even kill people in a crowded environment like that. They can also just be a public nuisance with their shocking bangs and flashes of light.

The official warning did not specifically describe which firecrackers are considered intense. This means law enforcement officers have flexibility in determining what is prohibited. The warning said legal action will be enforced during the Vegetarian Festival. The municipality asked anyone witnessing these illegal firecrackers to call 191 to report them.

SOURCE: The Phuket Express 1 & 2

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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