Gin je mai (Are you eating vegetarian?), is the latest strain on the streets of Phuket. The Phuket vegetarian festival which officially started on 11 October, has taken over the island. Preparations for the festival began days before the official opening, with some stall owners having begun to sell their vegan goodies a day or two before.

Now that the festival is officially underway, Thai people from all walks of life are thronging the streets, to enjoy the festivities and partake of the special foods on offer. Dressed in white to symbolize purity, the followers of the regimen will abstain from meat and animal by-products as well as alcohol and sex for the nine days (Oct 11-19).

Local residents of Chinese ancestry follow this regimen strictly, and believe that this will bring them good fortune, as well as cleanse their minds and souls of impurities.

Participating shrines will organize street processions, the first of which will be on Saturday, 13 Oct. The procession will culminate at Saphan Hin at around 8am, after making its way through the city and a huge crowd of followers is expected to greet it at the final point.

“Ma Song” will also participate in other activities associated with the festival, such as walking barefoot over burning hot coals and piercing their faces with objects of varying sizes. The activities are all meant to be for spirit cleansing and merit-making purposes.

Source Reference : Phuket

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