Walking on fire or driving a brace of swords through your cheeks may not be activities most commonly associated with vegetarianism. But for participants of one Thai festival it’s the height of religious devotion.Different strokes for different folks.
Thailand’s nine-day Vegetarian Festival in the tourist island of Phuket is a spectacular — and bloody — Chinese Taoist procession in which devotees purify themselves in public displays of self-mutilation.
“It is not a trick, it is real, real bodies,” said Chanchai Doungjit, director of Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) in Phuket. ”It is believed that pure men can walk on fire without getting burned.”
Thousands of people, almost all dressed in white, lined the procession route on Thursday to pay their respects and receive blessings.
Mediums taking part — the majority of them men — eschew meat for several months before the festival, which began on October 5 and will finish on Sunday.