Someone just sent me these photos. Naturally, I decided to text them to my friend Paul, because I knew he would know about them. And he did! (If you guys don’t know about him, check him out @hexencult). He is an expert in the cultural aspects of death and has traveled the world studying this type of stuff.
These photos are from the Phuket Vegetarian Festival which is an annual event held on the 9th lunar month of the Chinese calendar. The festival celebrates the Chinese community’s belief that abstinence from meat and various stimulants will help them obtain good health and peace of mind. The festival is famous for its ‘extreme’ celebrations. These include acts that invoke the gods, from firewalking to body piercing. Acts of self-mortification are undertaken by participants who act as mediums of the gods. These have become more spectacular and daring as each year goes by.