Cultural & Religious Festivals

Phuket Tourist Information Guide

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There are a quite a few cultural & religious festivals in Phuket each year, two of which you shouldn’t miss – but they are held at different times of the year! Songkran, the Thai New Year’s celebration, occurs every April. You probably know something about Songkran already as it is a world-famous celebration. Thais throw water at each other for three days in most places, sometimes less and sometimes more. The throwing of water is meant to honor the gods of water – lakes, rivers, streams, oceans – all of these support Thailand’s population of over 65 million people. Por Tor Festival, the Hungry Ghost Festival, is based on beliefs in the supernatural in Taoism and Mahayana Buddhism. The festival is celebrated in August or September of each year and is held in Phuket Town. This is not a huge event, but is celebrated by some people at the Bang Liao Shrine, Por Tor Kong shrine. The name of the festival means 'activity to alleviate pain and suffering for all souls'. The Jae Vegetarian Festival is a major event each year in October for nine days. This is to commemorate the success sea gypsies had of eradicating a disease imposed on them by the spirit world through fasting and ceasing of alcohol intake. Not all Thais take part in this festival, but it is a major event with thousands of participants. This festival occurs all over Southern Thailand and it is quite graphic. Young children, under maybe fifteen or so, may find the blood and odd piercings and behavior too much to bear. A Thai cultural festival you might enjoy is the Kathu Street Festival held in July. The event commemorates the success of Phuket as an island economy based on the tin and tourist industries. The industries which have supported Phuket residents and helped shape religious, art, culinary and architectural areas of life for Thais in Phuket. This festival is worth attending for tourists who will get to hear traditional Thai music on old style instruments. Traditional Thai dancing is held on stages, and of course there is plenty of food of all varieties. Those are but a few of the numerous cultural & religious festivals happening all through the year in Phuket and all over Thailand. You probably will get the chance to witness at least one on them, although it might only be a small regional one, at about any time you come to the Land of Smile.

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