The Por Tor Festival traditionally falls on the 15th day of the seventh waxing moon on the Chinese calendar, and Thai-Chinese people believe that the spirits of ancestors are released from hell to visit their relatives during this period.
“Every year at this time, Phuket holds the Por Tor Festival to give thanks and offerings to our ancestors as a way to express our gratitude,” explained Phuket Town Mayor Somjai Suwansupana.
“This practice has been passed on to us from generation to generation. This annual giving not only gives the spirits great food, but also brings luck and good health in return to the givers,” she added.
During the festival in Phuket, various foods, fruits and colourful desserts are placed at altars for the spirits of ancestors. Many people also set up extra offerings at the back of their homes to invite the lost souls that have no family to come and enjoy the festivity.
The main attraction for the festival are red turtle cakes called Ang Ku, which come in various sizes and are made from wheat flour and sugar.
As part of the festival there will be two parades in Phuket Town next week.
Next Monday (Aug 27), the ‘Procession of the Red Turtle’ will begin at 11:50am, starting at Queen Sirikit Park on Thalang Rd and ending at the fresh market on Ranong Rd.
Next Wednesday (Aug 29), the procession will begin at 5:19pm, starting at Queen Sirikit Park and ending at the Bang Neow Shrine on Phuket Rd.
Although officials have yet to announce whether the affected roads will be closed during the processions, motorists are urged to avoid the areas at these times.
Meanwhile, activities and ceremonies to honour the Por Tor festival will be held at the following locations throughout the festival:
• Aug 23: Thai Hua Museum
• Aug 25: Jor Su Kong Shrine (also called Hok Nguan Kong Shrine, on Phuket Rd in Phuket Town)
• Aug 26: Jor Ong Shrine (Talad Neua Community)
• Aug 27-28: Talad Sod Bai Sai
• Aug 29 - Sept 9: Por Tor Kong Shine, Bangneow Community
• Aug 30: Thai Hua Museum
• Aug 31: Ao Kae Community (Along Takua Pa Rd, Phuket Town)