One of Thailand’s most unique and lively events, the Vegetarian Festival – also known as the Nine Emperor Gods Festival – has its origins in Chinese culture. It is believed that abstinence from meat and stimulants will bring about good health and peace of mind to individuals and the community.
Thus, a lot of Thai people, especially those of Chinese lineage, will restrict themselves to only a vegetarian diet for nine days and nine nights for the purposes of spiritual cleansing, merit-making, conferring good luck, and ensuring prosperity and long life.
This year, the event takes place from 15-23 October. Visitors will be able to experience the celebration distinguished by unique charms and characteristics in major cities including Bangkok, Samut Sakhon, Phuket, Hat Yai, Krabi, Trang, Phang Nga, as well as other cities throughout Thailand.
In Phuket, which is Thailand’s most popular place to experience the Vegetarian Festival, stunning rituals take place in which devotees said to be in a trance-like state perform breath-taking feats of self-mutilation like body piercing, walking on hot coals, and climbing razor sharp ladders to demonstrate their devotion to the gods and ancestors. The Phuket Vegetarian tradition supposedly began in 1825.
Taking part in worship rituals, observing a vegan diet, venerating the emperor gods, street processions of God images and of celebrants, fire-walking ritual, and crossing a bridge of purification at these notable locations. Some offer vegetarian dishes free of charge throughout the nine or 10 days.
• Chon Buri, 13-24 October 2023, at Na Jasa Tai Chue Shrine.
• Prachin Buri, 14-23 October 2023, at Bampen Thammasathan Foundation.
• Hat Yai, 14-23 October 2023, at Supasarn Rangsan Park, Songkhla.
• Phang-nga, 14-23 October 2023, at seven shrines around the province.
• Phak Hai, 15-23 October 2023, at Tai Hong Kong Shrine, Phak Hai District, Ayutthaya.
• Maha Sarakham, 15-23 October 2023, at Khun Wiro Kusolsongkroh Foundation (Eng Tek Tung), Kantharawichai District.
• Korat (“jia-chai”), 15-23 October 2023, at the Thai Chinese Vegan Club and the shrines near the Thao Suranari (Ya Mo) Monument, Nakhon Ratchasima.
• Udon Thani, 15-23 October 2023, at Grand Father-Grand Mother Shrine, Thai Chinese Cultural Centre.
• Phuket, 15-23 October 2023, at 31 shrines around the province.
• Trang, 15-23 October 2023, at the shrines around Mueang District.
• Ranong, 15-24 October 2023, at the shrines around Ranong.
• Chumphon, 15-24 October 2023, at Pu Ming Tai Si Buddha Hall.