Once a year, the Chinese in Phuket Old Town would have a week long celebrations oddly named Vegetarian Festival. The Thailand Tourism Board renamed it for the Tourists dollar.
The Chinese here celebrate the Ninth God Celebration, a festival which sends off the Ninth God of the Taoist Heavens.
As a gruesome and almost bizzare way of cleansing themselves from Karma and Sin, the Ninth God devotees would go into a trance and perform these piercings. Phuket old town turns into a hectic frenzy during October with all the devotees from all over Thailand coming and participating in the processions.
Some devotees would possess different Gods and get into an aggressive trance for a day long procession, they would begin from Ninth god emperor’s temple in the old town, joining the procession in Phuket Old town before ending their devoted offerings at their chosen temple.
Each year, more devotees compete with each other to have as many bizzare objects as their piercings. Out-doing each other and attracting audiences Part of the ritual involves going through a complete vegetarian diet and getting into a trance to invoke and possess the various Gods of their choosing. Quite a sight!