Nine Emperor Gods Festival, Phuket

The Nine Emperor Gods Festival otherwise known as the Phuket Vegetarian Festival will take place from 29 September-7 October, 2019.

According to local legend the festival came about around 200 years ago as a result of the members of a touring Chinese opera company all falling sick with malaria. The troupe decided a strict vegetarian diet to ensure the purification of mind and body along with daily prayers to the nine emperor gods was the best course of action. The nine are the sons of Father Emperor, Zhou Yu Dou Fu Yuan Jun and Mother of the Big Dipper, Dou Mu Yuan Jun, who also holds the Registrar of Life and Death.

Much to everyones surprise the troupe recovered so the local people decided to hold a festival to honour the gods and give thanks. The celebrations get underway on the on the eve of the first day of the ninth lunar month with the raising of the Lantern Pole. This alerts the Emperor Gods that the festival is about to begin.

Local residents will bring their household gods to temples for a charge of spiritual energy in return for an offering of food and drink. Devotees clad in white will walk on hot coals and participate in processions with cheeks or other body parts pierced by knives, swords and skewers. More recently, less conventional cutlery such as model helicopters and machine guns have made an appearance though I couldn’t tell you if the machine guns are real or models.

The ceremonies take place at various Chinese shrines scattered throughout Phuket.Food stall line the streets nearby where you can sample vegetarian dishes though they do tend to be mostly fried noodles mixed with soy protein masquerading as meat.

Street Processions Schedule 2019

Monday, September 30
Hun Jong Aam Joh Su Kong Naka Shrine, Wichit

Tuesday, October 1
Sam Pai Kong Shine, Bang Khu
Guan Tae Kun Shrine, Sapam
Sang Lang Tong Shrine, Baan Muang Mai

Wednesday, October 2
Tae Kun Shrine, Baan Nabon
Lim Hu Tai Su Shrine, Samkong
Tai Houd Tong Shrine, Surin Beach
Bu Sent Tong Shrine, Cherng Talay

Thursday, October 3
Tai Seng Pud Joh Shrine, Chalong
Jeng Ong Shrine, opposite Vachira Phuket Hospital
Ban Tha Rua Shrine, Tha Ruea
Tae Koon Tai Tae, Baan Pasak, Cherng Talay
Hun Jong Aam Joh Su Kong Naka Shrine, Wichit
Sang Lang Tong Shrine, Muang Mai, Thalang
Guan Tae Kun Shrine, Sapam

Friday, October 4
Bang Neow Shrine, Srisoonthorn
Gim Tsu Ong Shrine, Baan Don
Sam Ong Hu Shrine, Cherng Talay
Jong Ngie Tong Shrine, Ton Sai Waterfall
Tai Houd Tong Shrine, Surin Beach

Saturday, October 5
Jui Tui Shrine, Phuket Town
Gim Tsu Ong Shrine, Baan Don

Sunday, October 6
Lai Too Shrine, Kathu
Tae Gun Shrine, Ban Nabon
Hai Yian Keng Shrine, Baan Mai Khao
Yok Ke Keng Shrine, Soi Pa-niang

Monday, October 7
Ngoh Hian Tai Tae, Cherng Talay
Sui Bun Tong Shrine, Phuket Town
Sam Pai Kong Shrine, Bang Khu

Fire-walking ceremonies

Friday, October 4
8:09pm Jui Tui Shrine
8:09pm Jeng Ong Shrine
8:30pm Ban Tha Rua Shrine
8:45pm Guan Tae Kun Shrine
8:45pm Yok Ke Keng Shrine
9:00pm Sui Bun Tong Shrine
9:00pm Tae Gun Shrine
9:00pm Hai Yian Keng Shrine

Saturday, October 5
9:00pm Tai Houd Tong Shrine
9:00pm Bu Sent Tong Shrine

Sunday, October 6
2;00pm Kim Su Ong Shrine
8:00pm Bang Neow Shrine
8:00pm Tae Koon Tai Tae
8:09pm Lim Hu Tai Su Shrine
9:09pm Jong Ngie Tong Shrine
8:15pm Sang Lang Tong Shrine
8:30pm Sam Ong Hu Shrine
8:30pm Tai Seng Pud Joh Shrine

Monday, October 7
3:00pm Lai Too Shrine
7:30pm Sam Pai Kong Shrine

Photo by Joseph Ferris III via Wikimedia Commons

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