Coordinates: 15.8700° N, 100.9925° E
By: Alifa Putrinda
Another summer is coming! If you are looking for white sand beaches, tropical weather and great nightlife atmosphere, Phuket is the place to go. However, not many people know about the culture in Phuket.
In fact, Phuket hosts many Thai festivals throughout the years, not only full moon party! These festivals are held in order to respect and celebrate certain events in the past. A very strong Thai culture presence can be observed in every festival.
Phuket vegetarian festival
Phuket vegetarian festival is a 10-day Thai celebration with many street processions with people wearing unusual piercings, summoning spirit mediums, involving a lot of firecrackers and unique history behind it. The festival is a celebration of the Chinese community’s belief. This community believes that not eating meat and other stimulants in the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar (this year is October 20 - 28, 2017) will bring good luck and fortune to the people.
During this festival, you can see many exciting activities like firewalking and extreme body piercing. People believe participants who perform these activities are the mediums to God. It is also believed that Chinese God will protect people from harm. Therefore, when members practice extreme actions, nothing serious will happen to them.
Usually, this Thai festival takes place on the street, where tourists can see most of the processions. Apart from the ceremony, visitors can also take part in preparing the vegetarian dishes around the island during this time.
Phuket old town festival
Phuket old town festival is one of the biggest Thai festivity in Phuket. During the celebration, main streets of Phuket, such as Thalang, Krabi, Phang Nga and Phuket road, turn into walking streets. The carnival is held in the end of January, following Chinese New Year.
Initially, the festival was held as a ceremony for pure unadulterated fun for people of all ages. With time, the aim of this celebration has become more of an effort to develop and conserve Thai culture and promote Phuket.
There are four main themes in this Thai festivity, which is distributed in different areas, such as stories about the past in Thalang Road, stories of the present in Krabi Road, stories about the future in Phang Nga Road and clothes and food section by the Thai Peranakan Association in Dibuk Road.
The wettest Thai festival: Songkran festival
Here it is, the wettest Thai festival! Every year between April 13 - 15, Thais celebrate their New Year, Songkran, which marks the beginning of the solar calendar. This time is also the driest period of the year. It is when farmers are waiting for the rains to begin planting their rice. So Songkran festivity is a celebration of welcoming the rainy season.
People rejoice Songkran by hitting the streets and throwing waters to other people. During this time, Phuket is packed with tourists. It is a great time to visit the island. Locals believe that the water washes away the sins and brings good luck.
To participate in the water fight, you can use any kind of tools to splash the water, like a water pistol, water buckets or cups! However, high pressure water guns are prohibited for safety reasons. Unfortunately, every year there is always a number of accidents happening during this festival, especially on the roads. Therefore, always put safety first!
The main party usually happens in the South of Phuket, Patong Beach. Hundreds of people come down and throw water at each other. It will be super wet.
Sounds fun? So get yourself a good water gun, hit the street and have fun!
Lantern festival Thailand: Loy Krathong
Loy Krathong, also known as ‘the festival of lights’ is the most beautiful Thai celebration. During the evening of this festival, lakes and rivers are full of candles. Each candle carries prayers and wishes that are sent off to float on the river.
The festival was originally a celebration of thanksgiving ceremony to River Ganges in India. The Buddhists then adopted this ritual in Thailand in order to honour Lord Buddha. Loy Krathong is held on the 12th lunar month, which usually falls in the first half of November.
The celebration starts a ceremony at the Buddhist temples. The ritual continues on the river where everyone makes wishes and light a candle on a floating lantern. You can also put some personal items, like nail clippings or strands of hair on the lantern. Some locals believe it will help to wash away your sins. When the lanterns start to cover the river surface, you will see the most magical and wondrous view.
Phuket is not merely about getting tanned and partying all night. The island is the host of many incredible Thai festivals that bring unique stories and culture in every ceremony. Do something different on your Phuket trip and discover the special traits this island has.
NOTE: This article was written by Alifa Putrinda, of Activity Fan Blog. We haven't received any compensation for this publication, nor does Alifa Putrinda, or Activity Fan Blog. The article and photos of this post were published with the permission of Alifa Putrinda and Activity Fan Blog. It is not allowed to copy, distribute or reproduce this post or use the photos without Activity Fan Blog authorization. The original link post can be shared in Social Media.