The Vegetarian Festival 2023

Join us as we delve into the vibrant tapestry of traditions that define this year’s Thai Vegetarian Festival.


Occurring annually during the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar, the festival’s dates vary from year to year. This year, the festivities are set to take place on:

Sunday 15th October – Tuesday 24th October 2023


The Thai Vegetarian Festival, also known as Tesagan Gin Jay or the Nine Emperor Gods Festival, is a 10-day long religious and cultural celebration. At its core is the Chinese belief system of Taoism, characterised by a strict adherence to a purely vegetarian diet, religious ceremonies, parades and unique rituals.
This vibrant celebration holds significance for both Thais with Chinese ancestry and those without. Some of the most distinctive and certainly unique features are the ceremonial rituals performed at Chinese temples and shrines which involve participants wearing striking white attire and piercing their bodies with sharp objects such as swords and skewers as acts of devotion to invoke blessings, protection and purification.


The Thai Vegetarian Festival has deep-rooted historical and spiritual significance. Although there are many variations to the history, it is believed to have originated in Phuket in the early 19th century when a traveling Chinese opera troupe fell ill before engaging in intense rituals to honour the Nine Emperor Gods, a central figure in Taoism.

Today, the festival has become an annual tradition for a number of reasons, including:
Spiritual Cleansing: Participants believe that through abstaining from meat and adhering to strict rituals, they can cleanse both their bodies and minds, ward off evil spirits and usher in good luck.

Community Preservation:

The Thai Vegetarian Festival is as much a cultural event as it is a religious one, and it highlights the unique fusion of Thai and Chinese traditions, harnessing a sense of community.

Jay Cuisine:

Throughout Thailand, vendors and restaurants showcase ‘Jay’ or vegetarian cuisine, easily recognisable by yellow flags with red Thai or Chinese characters, which indicates participation.


The Vegetarian Festival is enthusiastically celebrated throughout Thailand, with vibrant observances in Bangkok and Chiang Mai. Yet, among all the provinces, the most prominent and extravagant festivities take place right here in Phuket.

The heart of the festival can be found in Phuket Town, where the streets burst into life with dynamic processions, an ambiance filled with the scent of incense and an energetic vibe. Several Chinese temples and shrines play a central role in these events, serving as the central points for ceremonies, rituals and performances.

Expected Schedule of the Shrine’s Processions Ceremony:

16 October 2023, Cho Su Kong Naka Shrine
17 October 2023, Sapam Shrine
18 October 2023, Sam Kong Shrine
19 October 2023, Tha Ruea House Shrine
20 October 2023, Bang Niao Shrine
21 October 2023, Jui Tui Shrine
22 October 2023, Kathu Shrine
22 October 2023, Yok Ke Keng Shrine
23 October 2023 Sui Bun Tong Shrine

This must-see event provides a truly unique opportunity for those seeking a cultural experience or looking to understand ancient traditions. Witness the surreal and captivating atmosphere as Phuket transforms into a mesmerising fusion of culture, tradition and spirituality.


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