For Phuket's ethnic Chinese community, this bizarre festival is a time of cleansing, purity and abstinence, during which no animals are killed and no meat eaten.
As well as observing a strict vegetarian diet, participants engage in spiritual cleansing and merit-making rituals at various shrines and temples. Spectacular street processions feature fireworks, music and loud noises to help to drive away evil spirits.
Devotees known as Ma Song enter a trance and perform extreme acts of self-mortification, such as walking over hot coals, climbing ladders with bladed rungs, and piercing their cheeks with knives, swords, skewers, and anything else that takes their fancy.
* For more information see phuketvegetarian.com.