Annual vegetarian festival coming up in Phuket

For all the Thai cultural enthusiasts out there, brace yourself for Phuket’s annual vegetarian festival! On Monday, Phuket Vice Governor Amnuay Pitsuwan told local media after a meeting that this year’s Phuket Vegetarian Festival will be held from September 26 to October 4.

The Phuket Vegetarian Festival is known for its Ma Song. These spiritual devotees will self-mutilate, and slice their cheeks and tongues with swords, knives, and spikes. They will then march for hours, the intention being that through their pain they can achieve a holy and spiritual state. The Ma Song have helpers who follow them along to clean up their blood and pat them down with towels so that they don’t catch on fire from the many fireworks being thrown.

Amnuay told The Phuket Express, “The festival aims to preserve our precious local traditions and support culture and tourism.”

Officials are planning to enforce Covid-19 measures at the festival. Everyone participating in ritual ceremonies at the shrines must have at least two Covid vaccine injections and must take an ATK test every three days during the festival. Participants also must wear masks at all times. Chantana Sittiphan of the Phuket Provincial Office of the Ministry of Culture said that shrine administrators will be responsible for enforcing the measures.

Chantana also noted that administrators are to consider reducing activities, or the number of people participating in them. She added that shops will not be allowed to sell fireworks. The only fireworks allowed will be those used in the ceremony.

SOURCE: The Phuket Express | The Phuket News

Phuket News

Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.

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