Phuket Vegetarian Festival schedule released, final night street procession undecided

PHUKET: Organisers of the Phuket Vegetarian Festival have yet to decide whether or not the final – and most important – street procession of the entire nine-day event will be held on Oct 28.

Whether or not the huge street procession on the final night of the Phuket Vegetarian Festival will go ahead has yet to be decided. Photo”: The Phuket News / file

The news follows reports in the media that the Oct 28 street procession has been cancelled.

The final street procession of the festival sees devotees from all participating shrines across the island carry their gods to a bonfire at Saphan Hin and a grand farewell at midnight so that they may return to the heavens, and thus marking the beginning of the end of the festival for the year.

Prasert Fakthongkol, President of the Phuket Chinese Shrines Association, which acts as the lead organising body for Vegetarian Festival, last month confirmed that the only street procession to be held this year – in due respect of the Royal Funeral for the late King Bhumbol Adulyadej – would be on the finale on Oct 28. (See story here.)

However, Mr Prasert confirmed to The Phuket News today (Oct 20) that the decision of whether or not to go ahead with the final procession had yet to be finalised – not that it had been cancelled.

“Every day, the decision changes. We keep talking back and forth. The decision is not up to me, or any one person,” said Mr Prasert.

“Shrines are ready to hold the procession late at night on Oct 28, but a final decision has yet to be made. We will discuss this further tomorrow. I will let you know of any developments,” he added.

However, he assured, “There will still be the ceremony to send off the Emperor Gods from 8pm to 11:45pm at near the waterfront at Saphan Hin.”

Mr Prasert confirmed that the mass prayer ceremony dedicated to the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej will be held tomorrow (Oct 21).

“People are invited to join the prayers ceremony dedicated to the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej at 5pm the Sanam Chai playing fields (in front of Phuket Provincial Hall) in Phuket Town,” he said.

Meanwhile, rituals held by individual shrines on Oct 20-28, such as fire-walking ceremonies, oil-bathing ceremonies, bladed-ladder climbing, hot-coal walking, nail-bridge crossing, and others, will still be held, assured Mr Prasert.

British International School, Phuket

The festival will officially close on Oct 29 as each participating shrine lowers their Ko Teng poles from 4pm to 5:45pm.

The Ko Teng poles were raised yesterday evening (Oct 19) to invite the descent of Emperor Gods to descend from the heavens to begin the festival. (See story here).

Among the key events as listed in the official schedule of events for the Phuket Vegetarian Festival 2017 (click here) are:

Fire Walking Ceremonies

  • Oct 22 – Hai Yian Geng Shrine (Nai Yang), 9:29pm
  • Oct 24 – Tai Houd Tong Shrine (Surin Beach), 8.30pm
  • Oct 24 – Jui Tui Shrine, 8:20pm
  • Oct 25 – Tae Gun Shrine (Ban Nabon), 8pm
  • Oct 25 – Ban Tha Rua Shrine, 8pm
  • Oct 25 – Yok Ke Keng Shrine, 8pm
  • Oct 26 – Bu Sent Tong Shrine (Ban Kien, Thalang), 8pm
  • Oct 27 – Bang Liao Shrine, 8.30pm
  • Oct 27 – Lim Hu Tai Su Shrine (Samkong), 8.30pm
  • Oct 27 – Jong Nghi Tong Shrine (Ton Sai Waterfall), 8.30pm
  • Oct 27 – Tai Seng Pud Jor Shrine (Chalong), 8.30pm
  • Oct 27 – Cherng Talay Shrine, 8.30pm
  • Oct 28 – Kathu Shrine, 8pm
  • Oct 28 – Bangkhu Shrine, 8pm

Other notable ceremonies

Bladed-Ladder Climbing Ritual “Khi Toh Thooi”

  • Oct 27 – Bangkhu Shrine, 8pm – 8:15pm

Ceremonial Bridge-Crossing Ritual “Koi Harn”

  • Oct 27 – Jui Tui Shrine (Phuket Town) 7:45pm – 8:09pm
  • Oct 27 – Bu Seng Tong Shrine 7:45pm – 8:09pm
  • Oct 27 – Ngor Hian Tai Tae Shrine (Thalang) 7:45pm – 8:09pm

Pole Lowering Ritual

All shrines from 5pm-5.30pm, except:

  • Jeng Ong Shrine
  • Sam Sae Su Hud Shrine
  • Leng Ho Bel Shrine (Mai Khao)

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