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Patong Beach on Phuket Island in Thailand.
125/8 Rath U thit rd
Phuket - Thailand
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Vegetarian Festival Phuket
18 - 26 October
Updated 11 october 2990
The Vegetarian Festival is Phuket's most important festival. It
lasts for 9 days and takes place late September or October, based on the
Chinese lunar calendar. The festival celebrates the beginning of "Taoist
Lent" when devoted Chinese abstain from eating all meat and meat products.
The Vegetarian festival involves various processions, temple offerings and
cultural performances and culminates with walking on hot coal, climbing
knife-blade ladders, self-piercing the skin and so on.
Everything started 1825 when the governor moved the island's principal town
from Ta Reua in Thalang District to Get-Hoe in Kathu district. Kathu was
then still covered by jungle and malaria fever was widespread. There was
a mining industry in Kathu and Chinese miners. A travelling Chines theatre
troupe came to Phuket to perform for the Chinese thin miners. Struck down
by a mysterious epidemic, the entertainers decided they had fallen ill because
they had failed to pay proper respects to the nine Emperors Gods of Taoism.
They consequently adopted a strict vegetarian diet to propitiate their deities,
namely Kiu Hong Tai Te and Youk Hong Ta Te, and were cured.
As penance they erected Chinese temples and held a vegetarian festival to
ward off any residual bad luck. According to local legend the unorthodox
remedy worked and the annual vegetarian festival has been held ever since.
The local villagers decided to follow suit, beginning on the first night
of the ninth month and continuing until the ninth night. These nine days
of self-denial were considered to be auspicious both for the devotee and
the community in large. Such a diet, moreover, is good for both the body,
endowing it with health and strength, and for the soul, as the devotee refrains
from killing animals for food and from all other sins. The spirit thus becomes
clearer, calmer and filled with loving kindness.
The original ten commitments for the festival:
1. Cleanliness of bodies during the festival
2. Clean kitchen utensils and to use them separately from other who do
not join the festival
3. Wear white during the festival
4. Behave physically and mentally
5. No meat eating
6. No sex
7. No alcoholic drinks
8. People at mourning period should not attend the festival
9. Pregnant ladies should not watch any ritual
10. Ladies with period should not attend the ritual
Links to more information and schedule:
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