Today, October 8th, several shrines in Phuket have begun cleaning and preparing for the Vegetarian Festival, scheduled from October 15th to the 23rd, 2023.
This practice is particularly prominent at certain shrines, including the Bangneow Shrine (Thep Rasi Foundation) in the Mueang district, where a significant number of faithful people have gathered since 8:00 AM today to participate in the cleansing rituals and the cleaning of the shrine.
The cleansing and preparation of shrines is a customary practice for each shrine before the official start of the Vegetarian Festival. During this time, ceremonial items are cleaned in preparation for the upcoming festival. Additionally, preparations are made in the kitchen area for cooking vegetarian meals to be distributed to participants throughout the nine days and nights of the festival.
The Phuket Vegetarian Festival is a significant local tradition with deep cultural and religious importance for Thai-Chinese communities. It takes place from the 1st to the 9th day of the ninth lunar month each year, according to the Chinese calendar.
During this period, Phuket has more than 38 shrines actively participating in the festival, fully ready to conduct all the rituals and warmly welcome tourists from all regions.
It is expected that this year will see an increase in both Thai and international tourists, especially Chinese, attending the festival compared to previous years. This growth can be attributed to the government’s visa-exemption program and the continuous influx of Chinese and Malaysian tourists.
Chinese tourists, in particular, are the largest group, while Malaysian tourists rank fifth in terms of visitors to Phuket, with an average of more than 8,500 people per day, according to Phuket tourism officials.