Gallery: Shocking rituals of the Phuket Vegetarian Festival
Body-piercing urban hipsters have got nothing on devotees at the Phuket Vegetarian Festival.
During this annual religious event, Phuket’s Thai-Chinese residents observe a 10-day vegetarian -- or full-on vegan -- diet as part of a spiritual cleansing and merit-making session. Offerings and rituals are conducted at various Chinese shrines and temples on the island.
OK, nothing shocking about that.
It's the aesthetic displays, such as walking barefoot over hot coals, facial piercing and trips up ladders with bladed rungs performed by entranced devotees known as 'Ma Song' that make the event memorable -- and a spectator challenge of its own kind for the easily nauseated.
This year’s Vegetarian Festival, held during the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar, runs October 17-26. If you need further convincing to check this thing out, take a look at our insane gallery of highlights (above) from last year’s festival. Warning: These photos are graphic.
For the full schedule of events, check out Phuketvegetarian.com. Next week on CNNGo we’ll look at Bangkok's mutilation-free vegetarian events.