EVENTS & FESTIVALS
Phuket Vegetarian Festival - 8th to 17th Oct. 2017
For those who have never heard of it, the name Vegetarian Festival may not sound very interesting, but it offers much more than its name suggests. In fact, it is the most exciting, most significant and most widely observed tradition in Phuket.
The Vegetarian Festival is a religious event originating from China, and spread in the newly developed mining town of Kathu by a visiting Chinese opera company about 170 years ago. When the opera troupe took ill, the theatre was forced to close down. They were convinced that they were being punished with the illness for neglecting their religious rites while they were in Thailand. So when the time came for the observance, the whole troupe abstained from eating meat and animal oil and performed religious rites for a period of 9 days and 9 nights, in order to purify their bodies and minds, and to get rid of evil.
Vegetarians, male and female, young and old, are still required to dress in white during the entire festival period. People observing the festival should abstain from eating meat and animal oil for at least one day. They can have their vegetarian meals either at home or, preferably, at one of the Chinese temples in and around Phuket Town. The meals at the temples are provided free, but most people make a donation and have their names registered first.
Loy Kratong - 4th Nov. 2018
Loy Krathong is Thailand's very own Festival of Lights. A national event, it is held annually on the evening of the 12th lunar month, usually in the first half of November. Celebrations include various rituals at the Buddhist temples around Phuket, but the most famous and popular part is the launching of a krathong - a floating lantern carrying candles and joss sticks, as well as all of your wishes. Rivers and pools are illuminated with thousands of candle lights, creating a magical, wondrous sight. This festival is definitely one not to be missed.
It's a celebration that children absolutely adore and will be one of their fondest memories of a visit to Thailand. In the hours preceding sunset, you'll notice many makeshift stalls selling krathongs along the streets of Phuket. Buy one (or make one, if you're feeling creative) for each person in your party. These flower-covered mini-floats, complete with candles and incense sticks, often resembling lotus flowers, are an essential part of securing one’s good fortune during the festival.
On releasing the krathong, you can help your fortunes along a little by placing personal items on the float. Some put nail clippings or strands of hair so the sins of the past year will be washed away. Coins are also often placed inside as a way of making merit. For the romantic, Loy Krathong is the time to make a wish for future happiness together and success in love.
Songkran Festival - 13th to 16th Apr. 2018
The Songkran Festival, is by far the most important event of the year for the Thai people. It's a special time of fun and ritual to celebrate the Thai new year and water, the most important element in the agricultural culture of Southeast Asia. Be prepared to get wet at this fun-filled festival.
Songkran falls in mid-April every year and has its origins in ancient astrology and the position of the sun. The term Songkran itself means, ''a move or change in the position of the sun from Aries to Taurus',' and in Thai tradition it includes the celebration of the end of one year, “Troot”, and the beginning of a new year, “Songkran”. The phases of the moon and the lunar calendar also play an important role in determining the Thai New Year.