NOTE: This year’s festival will have limited gatherings and rituals due to the COVID-19 restrictions in place to help protect participants. Be sure to follow government health guidelines when you do go out.
By now we’ve all noticed the yellow and red flags lining the streets surrounding Chinese Buddhist temples in Phuket. They’re a sign of the Vegetarian Festival, which begins October 16th and will run for nine days and nights through to October 25th.
The yearly celebration sees participants take the nine days to cleanse their minds and bodies of impurities. Participants follow a set of rules to ensure they achieve cleanliness, such as wearing white only, refraining from meat, alcohol and sexual activity, and a few others.
Several rituals are performed, such as the raising of the Go Teng poles, which allow the deities to come down to participate in the yearly festival. Masses of vegetarian food stalls will pop up to cater to the 9-day change of diet, and processions will take place between the different Chinese temples.
Although the festival takes place in a few other locations in Thailand, the festival is essentially a Phuket event. You can find a full breakdown of the festival in this post, and you can look at the procession schedule and locations in the images below.