WARNING: The content below contains photos and videos of self-mutilation that some people may find disturbing.
The annual Phuket Vegetarian Festival has been given the “okay” to be held from October 6-14. For those who haven’t heard of the festival, it’s not exactly known for the vegetarian food. It’s actually a very spiritual celebration where some practice self-mutilation to enter a trance-like state and channel spirits through their bodies.
During the festival’s street processions, some pierce their cheeks with large objects, even swords, and some slice their tongues continuously for hours with the blood dripping down on the street. Throughout the week, people abstain from eating meat and drinking alcohol.
The festival draws tourists from all over the country. Last year, people were advised to practice social distancing and wear face masks. The Phuket Governor said had even advised that participants limit the amount of torture.
According to the Phuket News, this year’s festival was approved at a recent meeting at the Provincial Hall with officials and representatives from 30 shrines across the island. The vice governor said it is important to allow the festival to be held, but there should be strict disease control measures in place, such as a limit on the number of people at ceremonies at participating shrines and people must practice social distancing.
Covid-19 prevention measures still need to be formalised and presented to the Communicable Disease Committee, but the vice governor says Phuket Public Health Office has outlined measures and standards for shrine kitchens, which includes requiring all cooks to be tested for Covid-19 every three days.
Phuket’s Vegetarian Festival in 2019…
SOURCE: Phuket News
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