The Craziest Festival on Earth – Phuket Vegetarian Festival NSFW

The Craziest Festival on Earth – Phuket Vegetarian Festival NSFW

phuket vegetarian festival latitude 34
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The Craziest Festival on Earth – Phuket Vegetarian Festival

The Phuket Vegetarian Festival has just concluded here in Phuket and it was quite a memorable experience. As you can see the images can be graphic, so if you are the least bit squeamish, I wouldn’t look any further, although many of the photographs are not graphic whatsoever, so stick it out and have a look!

The Phuket Vegetarian festival is a popular annual festival celebrated by all of the Chinese shrines in Phuket. Hundreds of years ago, Chines immigrants came to Phuket to work in the tin mines and brought with them their traditions. The festival is celebrated during the 9th lunar month of the Chinese calendar and is celebrated in many Southeast Asian countries such as Myanmar, Singapore and Malaysia in addition to Thailand.

“Through varying degrees of piercing through the cheeks, tongue, arms, back and ears, the devotees enter a trance like state…”

 

During the festival devotees are put into a trance like state and perform ritualistic mutilation on themselves with the help of medical professionals and other devotees. Often expressed by varying degrees of piercing through the cheeks, tongue, arms, back and ears, the devotees enter a trance like state and are in deep concentration during the entire process and processions throughout Phuket. The piercings happen in the early mornings at the Chinese shrines and often the spectators need more attention from the medical professionals than those being pierced do. Magically, few suffer scars from the mutilations and most only stay bandaged for a few days after they take part. The trance like state they enter helps the body to not bleed during the process.

Those possessed are called Mah song and must be single, unmarried me from the community. The mah song are lead through the procession by their friends and families as many times, in the trance like state, they are unable to see, eyes often rolled back into their heads. They believe that their bodies are being possessed by the Gods and they lose all control to them, and are simply a vehicle for the spirit Gods to control.

I have wanted to experience this festival for years now and let me say, it is quite insane to witness. I watched Thai men stick everything from swords to wooden boats, umbrella hands and even two sniper rifles, through their cheeks. The processions are long, loud, smoky and never have a dull moment in them.

The smoke and firecrackers were so intense on the final night I could not breath and had to hold my breath, shut my eyes and cover my face quite a lot. I had fire crackers go off under my feet, burn holes in my shirt and one exploded uncomfortably close to my groin – all in a days work! This was one of the most interesting, unique and entertaining events I have ever witnessed and I hope to be able and take part in the festivities again.

(I couldn’t resist adding a unique self portrait at the end!)

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jeffjohnsheadshotJeff Johns is the co-founder and editor of Latitude 34 Travel Blog. Through 65 countries on 6 continents he has accumulated a seemingly endless stream of odd information, interesting stories and helpful tips and tricks to better travel. Jeff’s goal is to visit all 204 countries on Earth before he is too senile to forget them all.

A graduate of the Visual Journalism program at the Brooks Institute, his true passions lay in honest visual storytelling, documentary filmmaking, Thai food and a good laugh.

Together with his girlfriend Marina, they run Latitude 34 Travel Blog as a source of helpful information for those who love to travel or those who simply dream of it. If you have a comment or suggestion, send them an email at hello@latitudethirtyfour.com and they’ll respond super fast!


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