This Vegetarian Festival Of Thailand Is Totally Not For The Faint Hearted


The vegetarian festival is held annually in Phuket, Thailand.  It is also known as The Nine Emperor Gods Festival ( Kiu Ong Iah) and lasts for nine long days. It takes place in the 9th lunar month of the Chinese calendar and the next festival will be held between 17 – 25th October, 2020. 

The Vegetarian Festival isn’t for the faint-hearted. One lays witness to some of the most gruesome sights that’ll terrify and fascinate at the same time. The highlight of action is Jui Tui Shrine. The festival sees the participation of several other temples as well. Hundreds and thousands of travelers from across the world come to Phuket to witness this magnificent festival.

This Vegetarian Festival Of Thailand Is Totally Not For The Faint Hearted
Wikimedia Commons | Joseph Ferris III

The tradition started ages ago when travelers invoked the nine emperor Gods to combat in times of widespread malaria. Those men took vows of not having sex to remain ‘a pure soul’. Thus people refrain from indulging in sexual intercourse during the vegetarian festival. This tradition has been exemplified since then. 

What happens In The Vegetarian Festival?

The tradition is driven by practices that involve self-inflicted pain. Acts of self-mortification take place to invoke the Gods. The people who involve themselves in these practices are considered as the ‘messengers of God’.

This Vegetarian Festival Of Thailand Is Totally Not For The Faint Hearted
Wikimedia Commons | Electrostatico

The acts involve piercing themselves with knives and swords, and inserting sharp items in their faces. Puncturing the body parts with sharp objects is a tradition and only gets grander and bigger every year. 

Facts And Do’s/Don’ts

This Vegetarian Festival Of Thailand Is Totally Not For The Faint Hearted
Wikimedia Commons | Joseph Ferris III
  • Not eating non-vegetarian food (as the name suggests), not drinking alcohol
  • No sex, fights, lies, killing, or misbehaving in any manner
  • Cleanliness is a must everywhere
  • White is the color to wear at the vegetarian festival
  • No participation from people mourning losses or pregnant/menstruating women


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