Governor announces restrictions on Phuket Vegetarian Festival

Phuket Vegetarian Festival 2019

The Phuket Vegetarian Festival will be scaled down and under tight restrictions this year to prevent the spread of Covid-19. The weeklong festival, where some practice self-mutilation to connect with the spirit world, draws tourists from across the country, and the world. The Phuket governor announced that this year’s festival from October 5 to 15 will have restrictions on the activities and number of participants.

Each Chinese shrine involved in the festival must limit the people taking part in the ceremonies, including the mediums who are said to practice self-mutilation to connect with the spirit world. Some pierce large objects, like thick needles and even swords, through their cheeks and ears.

Along with following the basic disease control measures, like wearing masks and checking temperatures, the ceremonial activities must be scaled down, fireworks and flares are banned, and both spirit mediums and their assistants must be fully vaccinated and test negative for Covid-19. The Bangkok Post says that displays of supernatural power through mediums are banned, but the report did go into detail about what exactly that means.

The Phuket governor says that if 10% of participants at the shrine test positive for Covid-19, then the shrine must reduce the number of activities and limit the number of participants. The shrine must cancel all events if more than 20% of participants are infected.

WARNING: The video below contains images of self-mutilation that some may find disturbing.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Tanutam Thawan

Local Thai journalist speaking fluent Thai and English. Tanutam studied in Khon Kaen before attending Bangkok’s Chulalongkhorn University.