The call came at Jui Tui Shrine yesterday evening (Oct 18) where Radeepat Chatwet, the Head of Phuket office of the Department of Disease Control oversaw precautions for cleanliness and prevention of disease and infection ahead of the festival, which begins this evening (Oct 19).
Preparations were underway for the annual vegetarian festival yesterday morning with shops, stalls, and restaurants already being set up around Jui Tui Shrine in Phuket Town.
“As there is blooding and bodily piercings [during the festival], all persons must check if they have blood diseases, and any who do must report to the shrine,” Ms Radeepat said.
“All persons conducting piercings must protect themselves and others by wearing gloves and replacing them each time someone comes into contact with them,” she added.
Ms Radeepat also called for good food hygiene practices during the nine-day festival, when large crowds gather together to enjoy the huge range of vegetarian dishes on offer.
“Those who eat and buy food vegetarian food at the festival should clean their containers and vegetables every time before consuming. Consumption of clean food should be ensured,” Ms Radeepat said.
The festival which begins this evening with the raising of the Go Teng poles at participating Chinese shrines across the island at around sunset today so the the Nine Emperor Gods may descend from the heavens to join the festival.
The opening days of the festival are traditionally observed with prayers and merit-making before the street processions and the well-known acts of testament to the Gods begin, such as fire walking, bladed ladder climbing, among other feats.
This year the festival will hold a mass prayer at Sanam Chai field in Phuket Town on Saturday (Oct 21) to commemorate the passing of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej. (See story here.)
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. (See story here.)
Also, all people taking part in this year’s Phuket Vegetarian Festival have been asked to refrain from throwing firecrackers and to tone done the face piercings in order to be respectful of the Royal Funeral of the late King Bhumibol. (See story here.)
The event celebrates the beliefs of the Chinese community in Phuket that abstinence from meat, alcohol, sex and stimulants during the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar honours the gods and will deliver devotees good health and an elevated state of spirituality.