Mah song (spirit mediums) from various shrines, including from Phang Nga, joined the procession organised by Jui Tui Tao Bo Keng, Phuket’s largest Chinese Shrine, which wound its way through Phuket Town to say farewell to the spirit gods with bodily piercings, firecrackers, and drumming music.
Shrines in Phuket particpated, including Saeng Tum Shrine, the Mai Khao Shrine and monks and nuns from three shrines in Phang Nga.
The procession began on Ranong Rd at 8am and continued along Wichit Songkram Rd, onto Krabi Rd, Dibuk Rd, Thepkrasattri Rd and right onto Thalang Rd, Yaowarat Rd, Phang Nga Rd, Montri Rd, past Surin Circle and along Tilok-U-Thit Rd and down to Ban Bang Niew Municipal School before returning back to Jui Tui Shrine.
“This is a special year as it is the first time that the Jui Tui Shrine Committee has held the procession and final ceremonies [for the Phuket Vegetarian Festival] on Nov 11-13,” explained Kittiwong Jansattatam, President of Jui Tui Shrine Shrine Committee, noting that the ceremonies over the weekend were held long after the Vegetarian Festival had concluded.
“On Saturday, we held a Pang Eia ceremony, Chia Hoi ceremony, Chia Yok Ong Song Te ceremonies. On Sunday was the Yew Keng procession around Phuket Town,” he said.
“The statue of the Chinese God Tian Hu Nguan Soi, or ‘Lau-Iea’, was carried during the procession. “This procession will remain in the memory of Phuket residents and all Chinese shrine members,” said Mr Kittiwong.
“During its 40 years at Jui Tui Shrine, the statue has never been removed from the shrine. This is probably the only time and it is a special case, Mr Kittiwong added.
“Today (Nov 13) there will be Pai Lao Chai Yew, Ko Gun, and Yok Ong Song Te ceremonies,” he noted.
The famous street processions held as part of the Phuket Vegetarian Festival this year were held on one day only of the nine-day festival in respect of the Royal Funeral for the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej. (See story here.)
At last report, the organisers of the Phuket Vegetarian Festival had yet to decide whether or not the final – and most important – street procession of the entire nine-day event was to be held on Oct 28. (See story here.)
All people taking part in this year’s Phuket Vegetarian Festival were asked to refrain from throwing firecrackers and to tone done the face piercings in order to be respectful of the Royal Funeral of the late King Bhumibol. (See story here.)
However, the more ususal – and unusual – face piercings returned to the streets of Phuket Town yesterday (Nov 12).