At Jui Tui Shrine in Phuket Town, one of the main temples of the nine-day festival, local residents and tourists took part or just stood by and observed the rituals faithfully conducted to mark the beginning of festivities at 5pm.
Present at the shrine were Phuket Governor Phakaphong Tavipatana and his wife and Sittinee Tavipatana, who as the Governor’s wife is now also the President of the Phuket Chapter of the Thai Red Cross.
Joining them were Phuket Vice Governor Prakob Wongmaneerung and Phuket City Mayor Somjai Suwansupana.
The opening days of the festival traditionally feature quiet prayers and ceremonies to honour the gods, while ablutions of faith and flesh – including firewalking, bladed-ladder climbing, hot oil bathing and “nail bridge crossing” – dominate the latter of the nine days of festivities.
While the festival is renowned for devotees abstaining from eating meat during the nine days, it is also a chance for people to make a merit, show faith, bring harmony to the people of Phuket and also promote tourism as well, Mayor Somjai explained last week.
Of note, at 4pm tomorrow (Oct 10), there will be a procession to honour His Majesty The King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun from Sanam Chai Park in front of Phuket Provincial Hall to Saphan Hin, and a prayer ceremony for King Rama 9 at Saphan Hin at 6pm.
For the full schedule of events, see https://www.phuketvegetarian.com/ebook-phuketvegetarian61.pdf