Phuket’s Vegetarian Festival, also known as the Nine Emperor Gods Festival, has arrived. Spanning 10 days from October 5 to the 15,the festival is iconic for those who like exotic and very, very unique cultural events.
It’s a commemoration that invites ancient Chinese spirts to come down from the heavens to witness almost 8 days of fire walking, noisy street processions, and an abundance of fireworks. But, the shocking piercings, using large objects jutting through the cheeks of parading mar songs, is perhaps, the festival’s most famous sight to see.
Aside from the annual rituals, the festival’s name introduces a week of abstinence from eating meat, milk products, alcohol and indulging in a other ‘pleasures of the flesh’ for the island’s large Thai-Chinese population. So, if you are looking for vegetarian or vegan food, this is definitely the place to go. The streets of Phuket Town are full of stalls serving vegetarian food, making it a mecca for herbivores. It’s also the week, every year, when festival organisers complain that the markets inflate the cost of vegetables. Of course.
October 5 (Tuesday):
The festival’s kickoff starts in the afternoon with lantern poles being raised at all of the participating shrines. This is when the Emperor Gods are said to descend down the poles into the shrines at midnight.