Hat Yai vegetarian festival begins

The Hat Yai Vegetarian Festival started on Saturday night and runs until Oct 7. (Photo by Assawin Pakkawan)

SONGKHLA: The Hat Yai Vegetarian Festival started on Saturday night and will run until Oct 7, with more than 100 shops participating and serving vegetarian food.

The festival, which has been held in Hat Yai for 20 consecutive years, was launched at the Supasarn Rangsan park in the Hat Yai municipality and attended by a large number of tourists, including some from Malaysia and Singapore who came to this southern Thai city for a weekend getaway.

The official opening of the event was to be held on Sunday, with 108 shops in Hat Yai selling vegetarian food for the duration of the event. Booths were set up to serve both locals and tourists with a variety of vegetarian dishes at the opening ceremony.

The festival is held annually during the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar, and is intended to encourage people to adopt a 10-day vegetarian diet for the purposes of spiritual cleansing and merit-making.

A highlight of the event is a procession of images of gods and golden dragons around the shrines of Hat Yai.