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Thailand Vegetarian Festival Chinese Holiday

Thailand Vegetarian Festival Chinese Holiday

The vegetarian Festival is a 9 day event in which the Thai’s pay respect to the gods by sticking a strict vegetarian diet. There are a lot of benefits from adhering to a healthy vegetarian diet.

Every year in late September and early October, Thailand pays their respect to 9 gods over 9 days in a mish-mash of events that make one of the most gruesome festivals in the world, known as the Vegetarian Festival with the largest festival held in Phuket Island.

shiva chinese god Thailand Vegetarian Festival Chinese HolidayThis tradition was first brought to Thailand by the Chinese who immigrated there in the 19th century, and the festival is supposed to celebrate the community’s belief that abstinence from meat and various stimulants will help them obtain good health and peace of mind. Although, the holiday seems to have transformed it is still governed by some basic strict rules.

During the 9 days, participants must adhere to the following 9 rules:

9 Days – 9 Rules List

  • Wear white during the festival
  • Behave physically and mentally
  • Avoid eating meat
  • Avoid sex
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Pay attention to cleanliness of the body during the festival
  • Clean kitchen utensils; cannot be use others who do not participate in the festival
  • Pregnant women and menstruating women should not attend ceremonies
  • People in mourning should not participate

Click The Picture below to view a slideshow of photos from the Vegetarian Festival held in Phuket, Thailand, but BE WARNED! These Pictures are NOT for the light-of-heart and are quite gory!

thailand vegetarian festival81 Thailand Vegetarian Festival Chinese Holiday

The festival takes a bazaar turn in series of events that take place during the 9 days. Ceremonies are held to invoke the gods that will protect them from harm and bless them with good health and these ceremonies can get extremely gruesome. In a series of processions and displays, the participants show how they are possessed by the gods who have come to protect them.

These ceremonies include a large procession in which participants walk in a trance stopping at stalls and temples to pay respects. In a separate procession, the participants will use an array of household items to skewer and pierce themselves marching from temple to temple displaying their weird and wonderful acts of self mutilation. Other events which are held inside the temples include running across a hot bed of coals or climbing an 8 meter high ladder of sharp blades whilst in trance.

Whilst this may seem irrelevant to being a vegetarian, it is all part of the colorful 9 day celebrations. Only a small percent of the community take part in the gruesome series events but the strict “no meat” rule is usually adhered to by all. The festival takes place in the southern region of Thailand and this year will run from the 11th of October till the 19th.

Benefits Of Being A Vegetarian

Studies have shown that vegetarians live, on average about 7 years longer, and vegans about 15 years longer than meat eaters. The largest study on diet and health, the Chinese Health Project found that those who eat the least amount of fat and animal products have the lowest risks of heart disease and cancer. A British study that tracked over 10,000 participants found that vegetarians were 40 percent less likely to die from cancer and 20 percent less likely to die from other diseases.

A vegetarian diet tends to be lower in fat, and vegetarians tend to eat proportionally more polyunsaturated fat to saturated fat compared with non-vegetarians. Sticking to well-balanced low-fat high-fiber diet can help us keep off those extra pounds and stay slimmer for longer.

A vegetarian diet also help your bones last longer, the average bone loss for a vegetarian woman at age 65 is 18 percent; for non-vegetarian women, it is nearly double that. Research in the U.S. has shown that men eat an average of 175% over the recommended daily allowance of protein whilst women eat approx 144 % over. This excess protein interferes with the absorption and retention of calcium and actually prompts the body to excrete calcium.

A low cholesterol diet can also help with back pains. Neil Barnard, M.D., president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and author of Foods That Fight Pain (Harmony Books, 1998) wrote, “Back pain appears to begin, not in the back, but in the arteries. The degeneration of disks, for instance, which leads to nerves being pinched, starts with the arteries leading to the back.” Eating a vegetarian diet keeps these arteries clear of cholesterol-causing blockages to help maintain a healthy back.

Eating a lot of vegetables ordinarily means consuming fiber; this helps push waste out of our bodies. Meat contains no fiber and those who eat low fiber diets may be more prone to digestion problems. Studies have shown that a high fiber diet can reduce the risk of diverticulitis by 42% and those who eat lower on the food chain also tend to have fewer incidences of constipation, hemorrhoids and spastic colon.

Plants, grains and legumes — especially soy — contain phytoestrogens that are believed to balance fluctuating hormones. Vegetarian women tend to go through menopause with fewer complaints of sleep problems, hot flashes, fatigue, mood swings, weight gain, depression and a diminished sex drive.


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