The Phuket Vegetarian Festival is a culturally eye opening event that took place in October that is ideal for travelers, tourists and people who want to experience the unique and little known customs and traditions around the world. This religious event is known around the world for the sometimes shocking rituals that the believers and devotees that have gathered go through.
Dear readers, in this article, we are going to be delving into this event and providing you with valuable knowledge about the fascinating religious rituals that go on there.
Famous People Who Visited This Festival.
This event is celebrated by millions of people around Thailand, the majority of the participants being part of the Peranakan ethnic group that emigrated from South China down to Southeast Asia centuries ago. Furthermore, the event is not just celebrated in Thailand, it is also very popular in Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines where there are large populations with Chinese ancestry. Although the main hotspot for this event is Phuket, where the biggest festival of its kind, the Phuket Vegetarian Festival, was held.
It is without a doubt that many of the most famous Peranakan celebrities attended this event due to how important it is both to the Peranakan community and also to the believers of Taoism that come from all around Southeast Asia and China to take part in the religious rituals that are so important to them.
Unfortunately, it is not known what celebrities attended the 2019 edition of this festival as the festival is not organized by one governing body, but instead all the community come together, so there is no one specifically invited to come, and they have no festival website. Moreover, tens of thousands of people attended this event, so it was really difficult to figure out what celebrities decided to attend.
The sacred event took place on the island of Phuket around the many small rivers on the island, where animals spotted during the event are viewed as incarnations of deities during the event. Hundreds of tourists and journalists flock to this event due to its very unique rituals, with the most famous one consisting of the participants impaling objects through their cheeks in most cases, although some also do it in their forearms and on the fat around their eyebrows.
Practitioners of the rituals believe that by doing this you are showing your respect and willingness to sacrifice your comfort and mutilate your body for the Taoist gods. Furthermore, according to folklore, the gods descend down from the heavens on polls similar to the ones impaled in people’s cheeks so in a way they are preparing themselves for when they will have to be reincarnated.
The insertion of objects in the cheeks and other parts of the body may look really painful however despite there being no anesthetics used, everything is still done to high hygienic standards with surgical gloves being used, and all objects inserted into the cheeks and other parts of the body being sanitized. Even though it may look like it hurts, it actually doesn’t, as the cheeks and the other areas used for the insertion of the poll like objects are mostly fat tissue with very few nerves. It is also noted that all the insertions heal up after just a few days and scarring is extremely rare.
History of The Founding of This Event.
Also known as the Nine Emperor God Festival, this event has been going on for hundreds of years, although there is no recorded information about when it started in Phuket it is estimated to be over two hundred years ago with that being the age of the oldest temples built there that are used for the event. Historians that the festival in Phuket was started by Chinese immigrant miners.
Nine emperor gods that are reincarnations of the original Emperor Zhou Jun, they are perceived as Star Lords who control the movement of all the planets of universe and are also responsible for life and death including reincarnations. Millions of people celebrate the event worldwide by not eating any meat for a total of nine days. Many of those believers take a pilgrimage to Phuket to show their love for their deities and gods.
There is a strongly held believe among all the participants for centuries now that those who attend are blessed by the gods and any illnesses or health issues they may have will be gone or drastically improved by the time the nine-day event is over.