A devotee with a ship model pierced through his cheek waits to take part in a procession during the annual Vegetarian Festival in Phuket. Photo: AFP
A devotee with a ship model pierced through his cheek waits to take part in a procession during the annual Vegetarian Festival in Phuket. Photo: AFP
Thailand

Thailand Taoist festival known for extreme piercings returns after Covid hiatus

  • The annual nine-day celebration honours the ‘Nine Emperor Gods’ and adherents shun all animal products while offering their bodies to deities
  • Folklore traces the ritual back to 1825 when a visiting Chinese opera troupe fell ill in Phuket, but today the festival comes with modern safeguards

A devotee with a ship model pierced through his cheek waits to take part in a procession during the annual Vegetarian Festival in Phuket. Photo: AFP
A devotee with a ship model pierced through his cheek waits to take part in a procession during the annual Vegetarian Festival in Phuket. Photo: AFP
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