Phuket Vegetarian Festival
The Phuket Vegetarian Festival has its origin in Amphoe Kathu around 180 years ago when a Chinese opera company travelled to the area and got sick with a fever. They kept to a vegetarian diet to honour the gods and the sickness disappeared. The locals developed a strong faith in vegetarianism and the annual Vegetarian Festival started up and still continues today. It is believed that by refraining from meat consumption for 10 days during this event purifies mind and soul and brings good luck. Before the festival begins, Ko Tengpoles, bamboo with lanterns attached to the branches, are erected at all the 18 shrines in Phuket to symbolise the presence of the deities. When the poles are raised on the first day, it is believed that the gods descend into the shrine at midnight signaling the start of the festival.
Hightlight: On the 6th day of the festival, a religious procession takes place around the city. Part of this procession involves acts of face- and body-piercing. Throughout this period, many of the locals wear white clothes to represent purity.