Don't miss: Vegetarian Festival

15-23 October, Phuket, Thailand

The Vegetarian Festival, Phuket, Thailand. Photo / Supplied
The Vegetarian Festival, Phuket, Thailand. Photo / Supplied

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.

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- NZ Herald

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