Phuket Vegetarian Festival kicks off, poles raised to call spirits down from the heavens

The well-known Phuket Vegetarian Festival kicked off yesterday, with its traditional ceremony to welcome spirits to descend from the heavens, however beneath Covid-19 restrictions. Go Teng poles had been raised at collaborating shrines as a name for the Jade Emperor and Nine Emperor Gods to return right down to earth.

During the competition, some will follow self-mutilation, such as tongue slicing or physique piercing, to enter a holy trance-like state and channel spirits via their bodies. These practitioners are generally identified as “Mah Song,” or spirit mediums, and their bloody procession via the streets is viewed as a deeply non secular occasion. The competition is marked by many different prayers, holy rituals and blessing ceremonies, as properly.
Certain different customs are adopted by some during the celebrations. These embody refraining from eating meat, because the identify would suggest, and in addition abstaining from ingesting alcohol, mendacity, dishonest, stealing, and intercourse. Attendees also put on white as a logo of purity.

The celebration formally started on the Jui Tui Shrine in Phuket Town, and was overseen by most of the political and religious leaders of Phuket. These embrace the Governor Narong Woonciew, the Vice-Governors, the Phuket Provincial Administration Organisation officers, and lots of others.
The opening celebrations had been considered by a reduced number of festival-goers this year. Typically an extremely in style occasion attended by teeming crowds, Covid-19 restrictions are preserving many individuals home. Limits to the variety of participants allowed in shrines and ceremonies are being enforced, temperature checks are mandated for all attendees, and the vegetarian food distributors have been asked to not cluster round shrines, in order to obtain some measure of social distancing. And after all face masks are required at all times.
The Mah Song spirit mediums may even not be allowed to carry out their traditional procession on foot, but will quite be required to travel by automobile. Six-figure have also been requested to “refrain from performing miracles,” including their ordinary self mutilation, bladed-ladder climbing, fireplace walking and anything that could doubtlessly spread Covid-19. These guidelines are to be utilized to all of the shrines across the island, big and small, that might be concerned in the festivities.

Governor Narong warned that if 10% of attendees at a certain shrine or occasion contracted Covid, that particular event shall be shut down for three days whereas the positioning is disinfected and the attendees are examined for the virus. If 20% of individuals in a certain cluster are contaminated, the occasion will be cancelled..

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