Vegetarian Festival 11 - 19 October 2007
In case anyone reads this old 2007 page in the future .. for up to date info and photos see :
• Phuket Vegetarian Festival Introduction
• Phuket Vegetarian Festival Schedule
October 2007: The Phuket Vegetarian Festival is here again. For 9 days, this is the time to purify body and soul by eating the right food and refraining from alcohol, sex and other naughty things. The origins of the festival go back to 1825 - anyone who thinks Phuket has no history is mistaken! Last year was the first time I really participated in the festival - I ate the food (and I tell you it does clean out your system), I visited shrines, and followed a street procession one morning. The processions are the highlight of the festival - have a look at last years photos - Phuket Vegetarian Festival 2006.
Last night things went off with a bang here in Kathu. There was a firework display and at every participating shrine the "pole raising" ceremony took place (unfortunately I was at work, I would love to see this) - The poles join our world with the spiritual world, allowing the spirits to descend to the shrines. During the festival, the spirits enter the bodies of mediums who participate in the street processions which will take place every morning from the 13th to 19th around Phuket Town.
I started on the food today. Some of it tastes quite good! I found a place selling Ahan Jae near the office in Karon, and tonight we went for a walk in Kathu Village to buy some dinner - fresh spring rolls, phad thai. Not too much going on.. yet. The Kathu Shrine has their procession on the 18th and I hope to follow it into Phuket Town. Also during the next week are such events as fire walking and bladed ladder climbing.
Tomorrow night we'll maybe head into Phuket Town - the shrines at Bang Neow and Jui Tui are 2 of the largest with a lot of food for sale. The shrine at Sam Kong is also a big one - it's near Tesco Lotus on the north side of town. If you're in Phuket, try to see something! Note that all the processions start early. You'll need to be in town around 7am - 8am to see something. And the food is not bad either, especially washed down with a cold vegetarian beer. Oh! Naughty!