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    Phuket Vegetarian Festival - Police gear up for 2008

    Police gear up for Veggiefest 2008

    PHUKET CITY: With the start of the annual Phuket Vegetarian Festival just a month away, Phuket City Police met representatives of all participating Chinese shrines to ask for their co-operation in keeping this year’s event as safe and orderly as possible.

    Attending the meeting on August 25 were Phuket Provincial Police Deputy Commander Chalit Tinthanee, Phuket City Police Superintendent Nos Svettalekha and Phuket City Traffic Inspector Teerawat Leamsuwan.

    A key issue was traffic control, especially during the many street processions that are the highlight of the festival.

    Lt Col Teerawat Leamsuwan said most – but not all – of the shrines had adhered well to the predesignated routes during last year’s processions. He asked the shrines to provide good guidance to the many mah song (spirit mediums or, literally, “entranced horses”) expected to take part in this year’s processions.

    “I am afraid accidents could happen if the mah song wander off while their bodies are possessed by spirits, so it is very important that their handlers keep them on the correct route,” he said.

    He also requested that weapons, such as swords and bayonets, commonly used by mah song be kept to reasonable lengths.

    As for roadside stalls selling vegetarian fare, he said canopies could extend a maximum of 1.5 meters from the curbside to allow traffic to pass.

    All vendors must display a certificate issued by a participating shrine to prove they have paid the necessary commissions. All violators, including those who set up stalls outside the designated zones, face serious fines, he warned.

    “As for cars and trucks taking part in the processions, we need an advance list of all vehicles and their license plate numbers. These will be checked in order to prevent sound trucks and commercial vehicles from joining in for advertising purposes,” he said.

    As in previous years, the police said that only traditional Chinese firecrackers in strips would be allowed during the street processions.

    This year’s festival will officially run from September 29 to October 7, starting with the raising of the Ko Teng polls on the night of September 28.

    For more information about the dates and times of the street processions and other activities visit Phuket Vegetarian Festival, Phuket Thailand

    Phuket Gazette


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  2. #2
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    Phuket Vegetarian Festival meanings

    Phuket Vegetarian Festival meanings

    During the Phuket Vegetarian Festival, Chinese shrines clearly reflect their roles as community centres.
    People wearing white go in and out all day to pray and attend ritual ceremonies.
    All shrines are opened as alms houses.
    People flock in to take food & make donations to make merit.

    Its the time to share happiness among the wealthy and the poor.
    Everyone is equal when entering the shrines.

    In Phuket dialect we say Chai Tueng.Chai is vegetable. Tueng is place.
    It is like the central dialect.
    They use Taejiew Chinese, but we use Hokkien.

    I would like to invite people to take a bit of food from shrines as we believe its a blessing.
    When its a blessing, it becomes a harmonious gathering of the poor & wealthy.
    When everyone has a meal here it means that they share the same rice pot.

    The vegetarian diet was brought into Phuket by Chinese settlers over 100 years ago.
    During that time, people grew sick, so the Chinese opera company decided to keep to a vegetarian diet& the sickness disappeared.
    This led to peoples faith & generations since keep practicing the diet until today.

    During the old days, we did not bring the incense stick ash from China.
    Later there was a person who volunteered to go bring the incense stick & the tray to place in Phuket.

    The rules which vegetarian participants must observe emphasize bodies, speech and mind.
    They not only wear white & refrain from eating animal flesh, but some more rules should be recognized.
    People who are in mourning cannot practice the vegetarian diet.
    Pregnant women or during womens period can eat vegetarian diets, but cannot visit shrines to pray or attend the ritual ceremonies.

    Despite keeping to vegetable diet, some vegetables cannot be consumed.
    These are strong smelling ones such as garlic, leek, spring onion, onion, its leaves, Chinese Chives & tobacco.

    Flavor enhancers like Monosodium Glutamate,artificial food like ducklike dishes should not be taken.
    Strict Phuket vegetarians would NOT eat them.

    If you strictly observe the vegetarian festival rules from the 1st days for 3 years of festivals, people believe you purified your mind & bodies.
    The most important thing is that we are abstaining from killing animals, which is considered sinful.
    Vegetarian diet also contributes to good health.
    Jai Chai means eating food prepared from vegetablesand not consuming strong smelling vegetables.
    Song Keng means pray & Je Seam means keep to the rules or purify the mind for inner peace.

    Many famous shrines are located in Phuket city area such as Bangniew and Jui Tui Shrines.


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