Top 5 provinces to visit for vegetarian festival

Vegetarian Festival or Tesakan Kin Jay is an old custom rooted in the Chinese community in Thailand. It is typically observed for nine days and nights in October. During the festival, many Thai-Chinese will dress in white, observe religious precepts, restrain from animal-source food, and attend other auspicious ceremonies. Some also participate in self-mutilation rituals.

The following five provinces, in particular, hold grand vegetarian festivals every year.

Phuket

The vegetarian festival in Phuket is held for nine days and nights. Each shrine respectfully engages the Gods to witness their practices. Other ceremonies include religious processions, fire-walking rituals, and self-mutilation rituals. On the final day, there is a ceremony sending the Gods they invited back to heaven.

These rituals have been carried on for generations. People from all over the world come to participate in or observe the rituals during the festival.

If you are interested in visiting Phuket during the vegetarian festival, it is highly recommended to reserve your accommodation in advance before all the hotels become fully-booked.

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Trang

Trang is one of the very first provinces to observe the vegetarian festival. The ceremonies in this province are quite spectacular, particularly fire-walking rituals, and bridge crossing ceremonies to get rid of bad luck, and a ritual of climbing a sharp iron blade stepladder barefoot.

The most popular event is the religious procession where thousands of devotees walk through the streets or wait along the route and light firecrackers, causing a thunderous noise.

If you want to avoid chaos, it is best to reserve a place in advance.

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Songkhla

Hat Yai Vegetarian Festival is held annually in Hat Yai district of Songkhla. The most famous events during this festival are the performances by mediums which are terrifying, thrilling and imposing. To show the power of their Gods, the mediums perform various kinds of self-mutilations such as cutting themselves and walking through fire.

Many shops and restaurant owners will set up stalls during the festival to sell vegetarian foods.

The festival is one of the most popular tourist events in Songkhla. Therefore, it is recommended to reserve a place in advance.

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Ranong

With processions and performances by mediums, the vegetarian festival in Ranong is quite dazzling. It is believed that the self-mutilation acts by the mediums bring good fortune to them. During the procession, a lot of people flock to the streets to receive good wishes and blessings for prosperity. The lines are usually more than 4 kilometres long.

Besides the festival, Ranong has many other tourist attractions. If you are traveling to Ranong, you should definitely stay at least 1-2 nights.

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Phangnga

The vegetarian festival in Phangnga has its own procession which has taken place for over 100 years. The procession is normally celebrated in Takua Pa district on the final day of the festival. People wait for the procession along Si Takuapa and Udom Thara roads to receive good wishes and light firecrackers.

If you want to join this century-old ceremony, don't forget to reserve a hotel in advance.

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All five provinces are famous for their grand vegetarian festivals but the festivals are not the only attractions they offer. They are also great places for long holidays that everyone should visit at least once in their life.