Phuket vegetarian festival in Thailand
A devotee of the Chinese Ban Tha Rue shrine with piercings at her face takes part in a procession celebrating the annual vegetarian festival in Phuket, Thailand Reuters

Thousands of devotees in Thailand inserted sharp objects through their cheeks and other body parts to celebrate their annual vegetarian festival. The festival mainly followed by the Chinese community, falls in the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar, and is spread over nine days.

The event locally known as Teskan Gin Jay, is believed to have started in the early 1800s. Devotees of the Chinese Samkong shrine and the Chinese Ban Tha Rue shrine, parade through the streets showing off their extreme body piercings. They believe that the participation will purify the mind and wash away sins.

The participants also follow few rules during the vegetarian festival such as no consuming meat, abstain from sex, no alcoholic drinks and pregnant women are not allowed to watch any rituals.

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Phuket vegetarian festival in Thailand
Devotees of the Chinese Samkong Shrine with knives, spikes and gun barrels pierced through their cheeks take part in a procession celebrating the annual vegetarian festival in Phuket, Thailand Reuters
Phuket vegetarian festival in Thailand
A devotee of the Chinese Samkong Shrine walks with two umbrellas pierced on his face during a procession celebrating the annual vegetarian festival in Phuket, Thailand Reuters
Phuket vegetarian festival in Thailand
A devotee of the Chinese Samkong Shrine walks with a bike pierced on his mouth during a procession celebrating the annual vegetarian festival in Phuket, Thailand Reuters