Phuket Vegetarian Festival 2016 comes to Phuket yearly during the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar and so is held over a nine-day period in October. The celebration stems from the Chinese belief that abstaining from meat and other stimulants, whilst performing certain sacred rituals during this time will bring good health and fortune.
UPDATE: The 2021 Phuket Vegetarian Festival is scheduled from Tuesday, October 5th to Friday, October 15th. The whole festival is expected to be conducted in strict Covid 19 guidelines.
Locals of Chinese ancestry follow a strict 10 day vegetarian or vegan diet at this time, in order to bring about spiritual cleansing and growth. Six Chinese temples around the island will hold ceremonies, sacred rituals, and celebrations.
It’s said that the origins of the Phuket Vegetarian Festival stem from the 19th Century. A Chinese opera group was performing in Phuket and fell ill with malaria. After adhering to a vegetarian diet and gaining spiritual purification by praying to the Nine Emperor Gods, the group overcame the illness.
In celebration, the people held a festival to honour the Gods. The festival has grown over the years to the spectacular demonstration it is today, with thousands of participants flying in from around the world.
Phuket Vegetarian Festival 2016 Ceremonies
Expect the unexpected and more at the Phuket Vegetarian Festival 2016. The festival is an observation of sacred rituals and ceremonies that may shock and impress but may be much for the faint hearted. Ceremonies are performed to invoke the Gods which can be exciting and painful to watch.
Demonstrations of firewalking, body piercing and other acts are undertaken by mediums for the Gods. Men and women puncture their cheeks with knives and other instruments, in the faith that the Gods will protect them from harm.
The main Chinese Shrine temple is the Jui Tui Shrine in Phuket Town and will be host to a number of the events. The raising of the Lantern pole is performed as the opening, an act that alerts the Gods of the festival. The next few days, the local Chinese/Thai community make offerings at temples around the island.
Phuket Vegetarian Festival 2016 Schedule of Events
Street Processions, Phuket Town
Sat 1 Oct: Sapam Shrine – Street procession in Phuket Town from 07:00
Sun 2 Oct: Samkong Shrine – Street procession in Phuket Town from 07:19
Mon 3 Oct: Ban Tha Rua Shrine – Street procession in Phuket Town from 07:30
Tue 4 Oct: Bang Neow Shrine – Street procession in Phuket Town from 07:00
Wed 5 Oct: Jui Tui Shrine – Street procession in Phuket Town from 07:19
Thu 6 Oct: Kathu and Yokkekeng shrines – Street procession in Phuket Town from 07:00
Fri 7 Oct: Sui Boon Tong Shrine – Street procession in Phuket Town from 07:00
Fire walking ceremonies
Sun 2 Oct: Jui Tui Fire Walking at Saphan Hin – 20:09
Sun 2 Oct: Fire Walking at Sui Boon Tong Shrine – 21:00
Sun 2 Oct: Fire Walking at Ban Tha Rua Shrine – 20:00
Sun 2 Oct: Fire Walking at Yokkekeng Shrine – 20:00
Sun 2 Oct: Fire Walking at Sapam Shrine – 21:00
Tue 4 Oct: Fire Walking at Bang Neow Shrine – 21:00
Tue 4 Oct: Fire Walking at Samkong Shrine – 20:00
Tue 4 Oct: Fire Walking at Cherng Talay Shrine – 20:09
Wed 5 Oct: Fire Walking at Kathu Shrine – 15:00
The Final Day
Sun 9 Oct: Crossing the bridge of purification – 18:00 – 20:00
Between 21:00 and 24:00, all shrines join a street procession in Phuket Town: the Nine Emperor Gods Farewell.
Take a look at what else is happening in Phuket on our news page.
Find out more about how the weather’s looking in Phuket here.