As is the ‘new normal’ for the Vegetarian Festival this year, the Ma Song and their assistants travelled by motorcade on the backs of flat-bed trucks and pickups instead of walking the traditional route to the Chinese temple at Saphan Hin
Also in accordance with ‘new normal’ protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Ma Song and their assistants taking part in the street procession were asked by the Tha Reua Shrine administrators to ensure no facial piercings were observed this year.
On reaching Saphan Hin, the Ma Song and devotees conducted rituals and ceremonies to invoke blessings from the Nine Emperor Gods of the festival.
After the ceremonies were completed, the procession returned to Tha Reua Shrine, located several hundred metres south of the Heroines Monument.
Unlike previous years, this year saw very few people turn out to observe the spectacle usually associated with the festival’s street processions.
The street processions continue tomorrow (Oct 11) with the Bang Neow Shrine in Phuket Town, one of the major Chinese shrines taking part in the festival each year, holding its street procession through the heart of Phuket Town. Traffic will be affected.