Processions, self-mutilation and vegetarianism, as traditional festival sweeps across Thailand


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The Independent Online

A traditional 10 day vegetarian festival is underway across Thailand, as people across the country carry out a range of celebrations marking a 150 year tradition.

The festival, which is focused on Phuket, celebrates the belief that abstinence from meat and various stimulants during the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar will help people obtain good health and peace of mind

Devotees of some groups walk amid exploding firecrackers, self flagellate and carry out shocking self-mutilations, pushing guns, swords and knives through parts of their faces.

Click on the gallery above to see some of the more extreme examples from devotees of the Ban Tha Rua Chinese shrine in Phuket.