Teams of workers from Phuket City Municipality joined by volunteers began scrubbing forecourts at the main shrines taking part in the festival, including Pud Jor and Jui Tui shrines in the heart of Phuket Town.
The festival this year will be held under the same COVID-19 prevention measures as last year.
Phuket Vice Governor Pichet Panapong held a press conference yesterday to ensure that all shrine administrators were aware of the restrictions temples must abide by.
The mass cleaning at the shrines will continue through to Sept 26, when the nine-day festival will formally begin.
Never included in the official schedule of events is the traditional raising of the Go Teng poles at participating shrines, with the long poles pointing towards the heavens so that the Nine Emperor Gods can climb down to Earth for the nine-day festival.
The Phuket office of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT Phuket) has released the official programme for this year’s festival, complete with route maps of the popular street processions.
Highlighted by the programme are the ‘fire walking’ purification ceremonies to be held Sept 30-Oct 4 and the ‘bridge crossing’ ceremonies to be held Oct 3-4.
The street processions will begin on Sept 27 with devotees from the Koor Su Gong Naka Shrine in Wichit taking to the streets.
Street processions will be held at participating shrines across the island every day through to Oct 4.
All streets and main roads along the procession routes will be closed to traffic while the procession is taking place. Traffic may be halted temporarily, the road reduced to one lane or redirected altogether while processions proceed.
On the final night of the festival on Oct 4 all participating shrines will make their way through the streets of Phuket, especially Thalang Rd and Phuket Rd, leading to Saphan Hin, where the final rites ceremonies will be held.
The festival will conclude with the traditional ceremony of lowering the Go Teng poles at the shrines at sunset the following day, Oct 5.
For the TAT’s official Phuket Vegetarian Festival programme, see the image gallery above. For the street maps, click on the images to see them enlarged.