|Mah song participating in this year's Festival|
The few of us were the only white people around for miles and although we wore all white clothing to the festival we stuck out like a sore thumb. The locals performed gruesome self-mutilation tactics like stuck swords through their cheeks, walk on fire, and pierce their arms with a variety of different sharp objects. It is actually an extremely gory event. The people who perform the injury to their bodies are called Mah song because they ask the gods’ spirits to come into their bodies and protect them so they don’t feel pain. Unmarried men and girls’ without husbands and children are invited to become Mah song, otherwise only pure people. The Mah song participants partake in several rituals in the Chinese temple to protect them during the festival. Thai people are very into the power of spirits and deem that much of life on earth is due to how well we treat and respect life forces around us.
|Michele and I with some festival goers in front of the Chinese temple.|
|Street vendor serving tofu, spring rolls, and other yummy treats|
WARNING: DO NOT LOOK AT THESE PICTURES IF YOU HAVE A WEAK STOMACH!! http://totallycoolpix.com/2011/10/vegetarian-festival-in-thailand/.
If you want to learn more about the Vegetarian Festival, visit the website for upcoming dates, photos, rules and history: http://www.phuketvegetarian.com/index_eg.htm.