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Phuket Festivals & Events




Thao Thep Kasattri and Thao Srisunthon Fair

This fair is held on March 13 every year to commemorate the two great heroines who rallied the Thalang people to repel Burmese invaders. Many activities and celebrations are organized.



Seafood Festival





Held around May yearly, is designed to publicize the delicious seafood of Phuket and attract visitors during the rainy season.

Activities include a Marine Tourism Resources Parade, seafood stalls, demonstrations of regional cuisines and cultural shows.



Phuket Travel Fair

Held on November 1st, was first initiated in 1985 at Patong to welcome in the tourist season and designed to foster co-operation among tourism-related operators both in the private and public sectors.

Many colorful and interesting activities are organized, such as merit-making in the morning; water sports contests, a Miss Visitor Contest, among others.



Phuket King’s Cup Regatta





Held in December. The Phuket Yacht Club hosts international yachtsmen, largely from neighboring countries who compete in the Nai Han Beach area for royal trophies.



Laguna Phuket Triathlon





Held in each December. The triathlon (a 1,000-metre swim, a 5-kilometre bike race and a 12-kilometre run) attracts world-class athletes from all over the world.



Songkran Festival






Songkran Festival is the traditional Thai New Year celebrated on April 13th. Families and friends gather to celebrate by visiting temples, sprinkling water on Buddha images in reverence, and sprinkling water on each other's hands as an act of wishing good luck.


In recent years, the tradition of sprinkling water has been interpreted by youngsters as a great excuse for a water fight, and it is not uncommon to have buckets and containers of water thrown at you by teams of merry makers in the backs of trucks as you make your way down the street - particularly in major tourist areas like Patong.


Small children delight in equipping themselves with water guns and spraying anyone who comes in their path - no one is exempt!


Remember this date when you are in Patong and leave your cameras and anything likely to suffer water damage behind in your hotel room, because you will get wet.



Turtle Release Fair





Held on Songkran, the nationwide Thai water festival, on April 13 which is also National Fisherman’s Day. Baby turtles are released into the sea at various locations.



Chao Le (Sea Gypsy) Boat Floating Festival





Falls
during the middle of the sixth and eleventh lunar months yearly. The sea gypsy villages at Rawai and Sapam hold their ceremonies on the 13th; Ko Si-re celebrates on the 14th; and Laem La (east of the bridge on Phuket’s northerntip) on the 15th.

Ceremonies, which centre on the setting adrift of small boats similar to the Thai festival of Loi Krathong, are held at night and their purpose is to drive aw
ay evil and bring good luck.


Por Tor Festival





This is an ancestor's festival of the ethnic Chinese that falls on the seventh Chinese lunar month, which is the same as the ninth lunar month of the Thais. Special foods, flowers and candles are presented to the ancestor's altars. Cakes in the shape of turtles are made from flour.

This is done because turtles live to great age and it is believed that by making such offering worshippers may extend the length of their lives. It is an important merit-making festival.




Phuket Vegetarian Festival

 

 

 

A colourful event held over a nine day period in late September/early October, this celebrates the Chinese community's belief that abstinence from meat and various stimulants during the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar will help them obtain good health and peace of mind.


Though the origins of the festival are unclear, it is thought that perhaps the festival was bought to Phuket by a wandering Chinese opera group who fell ill with malaria while performing on the island.


They decided to adhere to a strict vegetarian diet and pray to the Nine Emperor Gods who would ensure purification of the mind and body. On recovery, the people celebrated by holding a festival that was meant to honour the gods as well as express the people's happiness at surviving what was, in the nineteenth century, a fatal illness.


The festival always falls on the first days of the ninth Chinese lunar month, and for nine days participants observe the following commitments:


  • Cleanliness of the body during the festival
  • Clean kitchen utensils not to be used by others who do not participate in the festival
  • Wear white during the festival
  • Behave physically and mentally
  • Avoid eating meat
  • Avoid sex
  • Avoid alcohol
  • People in mourning should not participate
  • Pregnant women and menstruating women should not attend ceremonies

 

One of the most exciting aspects of the festival is the various, (and sometimes gruesome) ceremonies which are held to invoke the gods. Firewalking, body piercing and other acts of self mortification undertaken by participants acting as mediums of the gods, have become more spectacular and daring as each year goes by. Men and women puncture their cheeks with various items including knives, skewers and other household items. It is believed that the Chinese gods will protect such persons from harm, and little blood or scarring results from such mutilation acts. This is definitely not recommended for the feint hearted to witness.


The ceremonies of the festival take place in the vicinity of the six Chinese temples scattered throughout Phuket. The main temple is Jui Tui Shrine not far from the Fresh Market in Phuket Town. The first event is the raising of the Lantern Pole, an act that notifies the nine Chinese gods that the festival is about to begin. The pole is at least ten metres tall and once erected, celebrants believe that the Hindu god, Shiva, descends bringing spiritual power to the event.


For the next few days, the local Chinese/Thai community brings their household gods to the temple, along with offerings of food and drink. It is assumed that the household gods will benefit from an annual injection of spiritual energy that fills the temple. Visitors can observe and even participate in the lighting of joss sticks and candles that are placed around the various gods.


Usually street processions take place, where visitors can see participants walking in a trance. Other events include hundreds of local residents running across a bed of burning coals, or climbing an eight metre ladder of sharp blades while in trance.


Apart from the visual spectacle of this festival, visitors can partake in specially prepared vegetarian cuisine made available at street stalls and markets around the island during this time. The vegetarian dishes are not easily distinguished from regular dishes - soybean and protein substitute products are used to replace meat in standard Thai fare and look and taste uncannily like meat. Look for the yellow flags with red Chinese or Thai characters to find vegetarian food stalls - and keep your camera handy!!

 

 

Loy Kratong






“Loi Krathong” is traditionally performed on the full moon night of the twelfth lunar month, which usually falls on some day in November. The floating of a ‘Krathong' – a banana–leaf cup – is intended to float away ill fortune as well as to express apologies to Khongkha or Ganga, the River Goddess.

Some believe that the ritual is meant to worship the Buddha's footprint on the bank of the Narmada River, while others say that it is to pay respect to Phra Uppakhut, one of the Lord Buddha's great disciples.


The Loi Krathong Festival is celebrated nationwide in Thailand, especially where there are rivers, canals or sources of water, with different unique characteristics.