You won't see this at the Full Moon Party.
Finally I'm in Phuket at the right time to witness the Vegetarian Festival. Fire crackers, smoke, blood, people's heads shaking in a trance - I've never seen anything like it. I think I'm still under the spell of the guy with the boat propeller pierced through his cheek, so I'll let the pictures do the talking.
Thais are hardcore. The more time I spend here the more I love this country.
|Once the spirit enters the participant, they go in a trance and often feel no pain|
|Multiple thin skewers are commonly used|
|A Vegetarian cheek|
|A handful of women participate in the rites|
|The air is filled with smoke from the firecrackers|
|Most pierce their cheek, some pierce their tongue, a few do both|
|Which object to use? This information may come to the participant in a dream|
"The Phuket Vegetarian Festival is an annual event held during the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar. It is believed that the vegetarian festival and its accompanying sacred rituals bestow good fortune upon those who religiously observe this rite. During this time, local residents of Chinese ancestry strictly observe a 10-day vegetarian or vegan diet for the purposes of spiritual cleansing and merit-making. Sacred rituals are performed at various Chinese shrines and temples and aesthetic displays such as walking barefooted over hot coals and ascending ladders with bladed rungs are performed by entranced devotees known as Ma Song." - www.phuketvegetarian.com