How to Celebrate the Vegetarian Festival in Phuket

May 15, 2019
The Nai Harn

The vegetarian festival is held annually for nine days in Phuket. Although the occasion is celebrated in Thailand, the tradition actually comes from Chinese culture. You might be familiar with how all events on the island involves music and alcoholic drinks. However, this festival is the total opposite.

If you are interested in learning about Thailand’s distinct culture and rituals, this vegetarian festival is the perfect opportunity to do so. In the festival, there are also thrilling performances for the visitors to see. In fact, you may even get to see men piercing their tongues with long blades!

Visitors who have no idea what the vegetarian festival is all about will usually panic at this point. However, there’s no reason to be. The act is just a part of the show that happens at the festival every year by devout believers. Despite that, you need to know what to expect at the celebration.

Here are a few things that you may want to know about how people celebrate the vegetarian festival in Phuket:


The food at the festival is free of animal products

As the name of the festival suggests, participants do not consume animal products throughout the entire duration of the event. They completely avoid any type of meat and eggs, opting for vegetables, fruits, and meat substitutes instead.

Some people cook with firm tofu to get a similar texture to meat. Animal products may not be included in the list of foods available for you to eat, but that doesn’t mean that you will end up eating the same few dishes over and over again. When you go to the festival, you will be surprised by the large assortment of food options available.

Even outside of the event, you will see vegetarian food sold at many food stalls and restaurants. If you want to make sure that it’s free of meat, look for a small yellow flag with red text on it. It is a symbol of the tradition.

If you intend to participate in the festival, there is no need to be afraid of not being able to find food. The vegetarian festival has participants all over the country and you will see these yellow flags everywhere. Even convenience stores like 7-11 have plenty of vegetarian options available during the celebration!


Dress code is all white

Before you head over to the festival, you need to dress appropriately. First off, it’s important to know that it won’t be considered acceptable to wear a tank top with ripped shorts and slippers. This is a respected culture and festival in Phuket. You will need to find clothing that is not too revealing. If it is possible, opt for an all-white look. This color presents the calmness and purity of our minds and souls. The vegetarian festival is intended to cleanse the participants of their sins. No violence or harm should be done while you are participating in the festival.


The ceremony usually takes place at the Chinese temple

When you look up the location of the festival, you will see that it is held at the Chinese shrine or temple. This is because the tradition is brought by the Chinese. Nevertheless, many Thai people choose to join in and perform the rituals. They believe that the festival is an excellent opportunity to focus on their inner peace. There are no rules that require you to be Chinese to participate. Anyone who has the desire to perform good deeds is welcome.

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