Entry Number 12447
The Vegetarian Festival held in Phuket, Thailand celebrates the Chinese community's belief that abstinence from meat and various stimulants during the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar will help them obtain good health and peace of mind. Over nine days various ceremonies are held to invoke the gods. Firewalking, body piercing and other acts of self mortification undertaken by participants acting as mediums of the gods have become more spectacular and daring each year. Men and women puncture their cheeks with various items including knives, skewers and other household items believing the Chinese gods will protect them from harm.