The streets of Phuket Town are lined with food stalls adorned with yellow flags and selling all kinds of vegetarian snacks and meals for the 2017 Phuket Vegetarian – Nine Emperor Gods –Festival, held this year from 19 – 28 October.
As well as the vegetarian food stalls hundreds of people take part in parades in various locations around Phuket during which participants pierce their bodies with spikes, swords and even bicycle parts.
The vegetarian festival is unique to Phuket and harks back to the days when Chinese immigrants began populating the island during Phuket’s tin mining industrial revolution, long before Phuket became knnown as a tourist destination.
Fire walking and climbing ladders of swords are also part of the festivities that can be witnessed at the Chinese shrines all over Phuket.
Participants wear white and fast or eat only vegetarian food before and during the festival as an act of cleansing the body in order to get in touch with the spirit world.
This year’s festivities are more subdued than usual in honour of the late King Bumiphol Adulyadej, while ceremonies are underway to mark 1 year since his passing and his cremation this month in Bangkok.