Phuket Vegetarian Festival street processions restricted to one day only

PHUKET: The famous street processions held as part of the Phuket Vegetarian Festival this year will be held on one day only of the nine-day festival in respect of the Royal Funeral for the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

This year’s Phuket Vegetarian Festival is scheduled to be held from Oct 20-28, but street processions will be restricted to one day only: Oct 28. Photo: The Phuket News file photo

This year’s Phuket Vegetarian Festival is scheduled to be held at participating Chinese shrines across the island from Oct 20-28.

However, Prasert Fakthongkol, who is the President of the Phuket Chinese Shrines Association, which acts as the lead organising body for Vegetarian Festival, yesterday (Sept 15) confirmed to The Phuket News that the street processions will be restricted to one day only: Oct 28.

“The festival will take place for nine days from October 20 to 28, with everything taking place as usual except daily processions,” said Mr Prasert.

“We will just keep it more quiet and respectful this year. Every shrine [taking part in the festival] will not be holding street processions on October 20-27 to honour the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

“Markets, food stalls, firecrackers and so on will be permitted,” he added.

“However, for now it has been decided that on the final day of the festival [Oct 28] parades and spiritual processions will be permitted, in all areas,” Mr Prasert confirmed.

“We [the association] have decided that it would be appropriate and respectful to cancel the street processions in honour of the late King.”

The news follows the Phuket Provincial office of the Ministry of Culture earlier this week publishing an announcement listing its “opinions” regarding events relating to the Vegetarian Festival.

The announcement stated, “The festival falls during the funeral for late King Bhumibol Adulyadej. The Ministry of Culture has issued five regulations:

C and C Marine

1. Spirit mediums or Ma Song processions, spirit possessions in communities and firecrackers are allowed.

2. Ceremonies to commemorate the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej can be held.

3. Ceremonies to honour HM King Maha Vajiralongkorn can be held.

4. Amusements and games for entertainment should be cancelled.

5. Every activity on October 26 should be cancelled as the province will hold the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s funeral.”

Despite the order to “cancel” all activities on Oct 26, Mr Prasert yesterday said, “On the day of the late King’s funeral, shrines will be permitted to hold markets or food stalls, but it depends on them whether they see it fit to do so or not.

“They [the Ministry of Culture] have given their ‘recommendations’ [sic], however they are not the ones responsible for the festival,” he added.

To learn more about Phuket Vegetarian Festival, please click here.

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