If you are searching for a reason to visit the lovely island of Phuket situated off the coast of Thailand, you need no reason beyond the Phuket Vegetarian Festival. This festival is a colourful event held over a nine day period and brings to life the whole island with its splendor, colour and charm. It is believed that the festival was brought to China by a traveling opera group who had fallen sick with Malaria whilst in Phuket and abstained from meat and other stimulants in order to get over their illness. During the festival, the community adheres to a strict vegetarian diet as well as reinforcing the other commitments that should be followed during the festival.
This wonderful event of colour and conjecture attracts many a tourist. The most important role of anyone participating in the festival is that for a period of nine days, the participants must remain strictly by the rules of the festival and should not overstep the boundaries of the commitments.
There are around ten commitments that need to be fulfilled by everyone. The first being the cleanliness of the body during the festival; in order to please the Gods, all participants of the festival must maintain strict hygienic practices during the festival. The second commitment is that clean kitchen utensils used during the festival cannot be used by others, only by that participant. The third commitments commands the partakers of the festival wear white clothes during the festival and the fourth commitment commands that people who are taking part should take care to discipline their bodies and minds and to exercise control. Participants are also commanded to avoid eating meat, avoid sexual activity and avoid alcohol. In addition, people in mourning, menstruating women and pregnant women are not allowed to attend the festivities due to religious beliefs.
There are many ceremonies that take place during the festival. The ceremonies are not for the faint of heart because they involve numerous daring and rather dangerous acts of self mutilation. Fire walking and body piercing are commonly seen during the festival, along with other means of self mortification. It is said that the participants act as “mediums” to the gods. Throughout the festival, you will see men and women walking on burning hot embers and puncturing their cheeks with negligible or no harm coming to them. It is said that if one is pure of heart and has adhered to all the commitments, the gods will protect these daring individuals from any harm. The ceremonies for the festival take place in the vicinity of six temples, the main one being the Jui Tui Shrine. Joss sticks are lit and offerings are made to the temple.
The exciting factor about this festival, in addition to colour and wonder, is the availability of authentic vegetarian cuisine. You will get the chance to enjoy many different types of various vegetarian dishes and sweets; all made mainly from soy protein and other plant products. In addition, there are many photographic opportunities and much to see during this wonderful festival promoting good health.
Phuket being an island of tourism has ample accommodation choices for you. There are many Phuket villas that will cater to your needs; but Anantara Phuket, Thailand brings you the best from the top range of all Phuket resorts and this hotel is ideal for you stay. You will be within easy reach of the best Phuket tourist attractions as well as being in the center of activity of the festival.