Tag Archives: Phuket Vegetarian Festival

Vegetarian Festival in Phuket, Thailand


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!








Phuket Vegetarian Festival

A festival I have wanted to visited for the longest time.

I’m planning a trip to Phuket, Thailand for the Vegetarian Festival which starts from 29Sept – 7 October 2008. Update : Bought my airticket via AirAsia, I’m finally going!

The festival’s actual name, the Nine Emperor God (Kiu Ong Lah) festival is held annually in the ninth month of the Chinese Lunar Calendar is unique to the Chinese community here in Phuket. The locals, observe a 10 day vegetarian diet along with spiritual cleansing similar in style like the Indians worshippers of Lord Murugan Thaipusam Festival.

Many sacred rituals are performed during this period involves fire-walking, self mutilations and torture, divine posssesions, body/face piercings.

Gruesome Video on the piercings and procession

National Geographic Taboo Documentary – not very detailed and more related to the ritual understandings and cultural aspects.

If you understand Cantonese or read Mandarin, here’s a brief detailed documentary on what the ceremony is all about.

Bookmark https://ihavetravellust.wordpress.com/2008/04/11/phuket-vegetarian-festival-october-2008/