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Phuket readies for Vegetarian Festival 2016

PHUKET: The Tourism Authority Of Thailand (TAT) Phuket office has released its programme of events for the upcoming Vegetarian Festival, to be held for the traditional nine days on October 1-9.

culture, Chinese, tourism,


The Phuket News

Friday 16 September 2016, 12:21PM


The festival will begin with the lantern-pole raising ritual on Sept 30 at all 24 participating Chinese shrines from 3 pm-5:45pm, except for Sheng Leng Shrine in Baan Muang Mai, Thalang, which will start early by holding their pole-raising ceremony at 7am.

Every year the event attracts large crowds of residents and tourists and this year Phuket can again expect large turnouts for the festival, TAT Phuket office Director Anoma Vongyai told The Phuket News.

“Just like every year, we always expect to see huge crowds at the Phuket Vegetarian Festival. I think the number this year will exceed last year,” she said, though she declined to reveal how many people the TAT estimates took part in the festival last year.

The most popular activities, and spectacles for tourists, include firewalking, bladed-ladder climbing,

hot oil bathing and “nail bridge crossing”, performed by devotees at participating shrines across the island.

These activities start at Jui Tui Shrine in Phuket Town at 8:09pm on Oct 2, and continue at different times and at different shrines across the island throughout the festival. (See programme for full details.)

The last ceremony of the Phuket Vegetarian Festival is certainly the most impressive. Between 9pm and midnight, all shrines join a street procession in Phuket Town: the Nine Emperor Gods Farewell. Each shrine involved in the festival has an Emperor God. The latest procession aims to accompany them to Saphan Hin, from where they will leave Phuket.

The annual festival features popular processions organised by each participating shrine, with Ma Song devotees parading the streets with a variety of implements impaled through their faces as testament to pain-enduring powers of the gods that occupy the ma Song for the duration of the festival.

The street processions, however, also bring traffic to a standstill to unsuspecting motorists as devotees parade along the streets of Phuket.

The TAT’s official guide provides maps of the routes to be taken for just four street processions, all in Phuket Town, as follows:

  • Thursday, Oct 6 – Bang Neow Shrine, starting at 6am
  • Friday, Oct 7 – Jui Tui Shrine, starting at 6:45am
  • Saturday, Oct 8 – Kathu Shrine, starting at at 6:45am
  • Sunday, Oct 9 – Sui Boon Tong Shrine, starting at 7am

Most shrines start their street processions relatively early in the morning. While tourists are welcome to line the streets to view the spectacle, motorists are urged to try to avoid the following areas, as this is the current list of scheduled street processions across the island:

Oct 2

  • Choor Su Gong Naka Shrine, Wichit

Oct 3

  • Leng Ho Bel Shrine, Mai Khao
  • Bang Khu Shrine, Sapam
  • Sapam Shrine
  • Cherng Talay Shrine

Oct 4

  • Sheng Leng Tong Shrine, Muang Mai, Thalang
  • Choor Su Gong Naka Shrine, Wichit
  • Lim Hu Tai Su Shrine, Samkong
  • Gim Tsu Ong Shrine, Baan Don
  • Bang Neow, Phuket Town
  • Leng Ho Bel Shrine, Mai Khao
  • Tai Seng Pud Jor, Chalong

Oct 5

  • Tai Seng Pud Jor, Chalong
  • Jeng Ong Shrine, Phuket Town (near Vachira Hospital)
  • Tha Reua Shrine, Srisoonthorn
  • Tae Gun Tai Tae Shrine, Baan Pasak, Thalang
  • Choor Su Gong Naka Shrine, Wichit
  • Sapam Shrine

Oct 6

  • Bang Neow Shrine, Phuket Town
  • Gim Tsu Ong Shrine, Baan Don
  • Ong Hu Shrine, Cherng Talay
  • Jong Nghi Tong, Thalang (near Ton Sai Waterfall)
  • Tai Houd Tong, Surin Beach
  • Sheng Leng Tong Shrine, Muang Mai, Thalang

Oct 7

  • Gim Tsu Ong Shrine, Baan Don
  • Jui Tui Shrine, Phuket Town

Oct 8

  • Lai Tu Tao Shrine, Kathu
  • Tae Gun Shrine, Baan Nabon, Wichit
  • Hai Yiang Geng Shrine, Mai Khao
  • Lim Seu Chor Shrine (Tha Reua Shrine), Srisoonthorn
  • Yok Ke Keng Shrine, Samkong, Phuket Town

Oct 9

  • Ngor Hian Tai Tae Shrine, Baan Kian, Thalang
  • Sui Boon Tong Shrine (also called the Lor Ong Shrine), Phuket Town (off Pattana Rd)
  • Bang Khu Shrine, Sapam

The schedule for the event from October 1 – 9 including maps and guides available to download at Phuketemagazine.com (or click here).

 

 

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