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Annual Vegetarian Festival, Thailand 2012 – Purity, Processions and Piercings

Annual Vegetarian Festival, Thailand 2012 – Purity, Processions and Piercings

Annual Vegetarian Festival, Thailand 2012 will be held on Monday, 15 October 2012 until Tuesday, 23 October 2012.



In Thailand this festival is called ‘Thesakan Kin Che‘(เทศกาลกินเจ spelled in Thai). This vegetarian festival of Thailand is worth a taste for dining experience, and one must try it at least once! It’s really very different and unique in its own way! Yellow is the color of the festival. You can halt wherever you see yellow flags, stickers or banners! It’s all vegetarian.. so go vegan for a change :)


Annual Vegetarian Festival, Thailand 2012 'Thesakan kin che'

Little yellow triangular flags marking the word ‘che’ meaning ‘vegetarian’ in Thai language have already begun to show all over Thailand. Pure vegetarian products are showing yellow stickers signifying the same during this festive time.

Annual Vegetarian Festival 2012, Thailand

Although this annual festival is at its extreme in Phuket, it spreads its charm all over Thailand. People give up meat for these entire 10 days and revert to vegetarian sources. Extremely delicious and absolutely non-veg. free dishes are available all over Thailand, and people take advantage of this opportunity to taste the amazing vegetarian food prepared and available only at this time of the year! Some do it out of religiousness being very strict about all the rules of the festival, while others do it light-heartedly just for the taste and fun of it. Yet others do it for a change from the regular intake of meat in order to give their intestines a break, and to enjoy and not miss out on the palatable vegetarian available dishes only available during this time of the year. The amazing part is that even these vegetarian dishes are prepared in a manner that they give the meat feeling using textured soy protein. Some vegetarian meat balls resembling the look, feel and even smell(using essence) are also used that you would not want to believe that they are vegetarian! This festival is celebrated on such a huge scale that vegetables become scarcely available and their prices shoot up very high during this festive season due to the scarcity caused. This vegetarian festival of Thailand is worth a taste for dining experience, and one must try it at the least once! It’s really very different and unique in its own way!

The Phuket Vegetarian Festival

Annual Vegetarian Festival, Thailand 2012 'Thesakan kin che'

The Phuket Vegetarian Festival is an annual event held during the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar. It is believed that the vegetarian festival and its accompanying sacred rituals bestow good fortune upon those who religiously observe this rite. During this time, local residents of Chinese ancestry strictly observe a 10-day vegetarian or vegan diet for the purposes of spiritual cleansing and merit-making. Sacred rituals are performed at various Chinese shrines and temples and aesthetic displays such as walking barefooted over hot coals and ascending ladders with bladed rungs are performed by entranced devotees known as “Ma Song”.

Annual Vegetarian Festival, Thailand 2012 'Thesakan kin che'

The Fire Walking Ritual at Phuket Vegetarian Festival

This annual festival in Thailand is celebrated with the purpose of gaining good health and peaceful life. During these 9 days, people strictly participating in the Phuket Vegetarian Festival are not supposed to eat any meat, seafood, or fowls to purify themselves from any illness or bad deeds. It is believed that by the time the festival is over, their mind, soul, and body are purified, and they will be away from fatal illness or disaster.

Phuket Vegetarian Festival History
This festival is believed to be brought by the Chinese Opera Group in the 19th century. During the period, many members of the group suffered Malaria – one most dangerous illness at that time – while they held a show in Phuket, Thailand. The other group members decided to pray to the Nine Emperor Gods and avoid to eat meat or other food made of animals to strengthen their praying. When the ill group members recovered, they held a festival to praise the Nine Emperor Gods and also to show their happiness because of surviving from the fatal illness.

Annual Phuket Vegetarian Festival 2012, Thailand


Phuket Vegetarian Festival 2012 Celebration
The main tradition of Phuket Vegetarian Festival is to eat anything but meat, seafood, fowls, or the other dishes made of animals. Some other unhealthy things including tobacco and alcohol are not suggested while having the vegan diet in Phuket Vegetarian Festival. The other tradition people do in this festival is quite extreme – piercing the face with dangerous items such as swords, spears, and some other heavy plus sharp arms. It is indeed crazy, but people in Phuket are sure that the ones having the pierce won’t suffer any pain at all. Despite this dangerous tradition, Phuket Vegetarian Festival is very festal and delightful to observe.


Annual phuket-vegetarian-festival, Thailand 2012




Clean your body during the festival
Clean kitchen utensils and to use them separately from others not used during the festival
Wear white during the festival period
Behave physically and mentally
No eating meat
No sex
No alcoholic drinks
People in mourning should not attend the festival
Pregnant women should not watch any ritual
Women having their period should not attend any rituals

Phuket Vegetarian Festival has become world renowned for its food and its curious religious rites. Held during the 9th Chinese lunar month, typically September or October, the vegetarian festival spans the first nine days of the lunar month.

Annual Vegetarian Festival, Thailand 2012 'Thesakan kin che'

During that time, Buddhists of Chinese descent follow a strict vegetarian diet, wear white clothing, and observe a set of rules that are intended to purify their bodies and minds.

Phuket Vegetarian Festival

All that seems well and good, but what has drawn the greatest publicity is the unique manner in which some attempt to purify themselves during a procession of asceticism. On the 6th day of the vegetarian festival, after fasting for several days, devotees known as “soldiers of god” commit feats of self mutilation and tests of intense pain, including piercing themselves with needles and knives and walking across hot coals.

Annual Vegetarian Festival, Thailand 2012 'Thesakan kin che'

Around Phuket, in addition to large flags hung in honor of the event, nine lanterns are lit up and placed aloft on “ko teng” poles to symbolize the presence of the deities throughout the festival. On the last day, there is a “koi han” ceremony to exorcize ill fortune, and a finally a farewell ceremony for the deities at night.

Annual Phuket Vegetarian Festival, Thailand 2012 'Thesakan kin che'

Schedule for street processions of Chinese Shrines:
Wed, 17 October 2012, Sapam Shrine
Thu, 18 October 2012, Samkong Shrine
Fri, 19 October 2012, Ban Tha Rua Shrine
Sat, 20 October 2012, Bang Neow Shrine, Cherng Thalay Shrine
Sun, 21 October 2012, Jui Tui Shrine
Mon, 22 October 2012, Kathu Shrine, Yokkekeng Shrine
Tue, 23 October 2012, Sui Boon Tong Shrine

Annual Phuket Vegetarian Festival 2012, Thailand

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