Devotees whip themselves at vegetarian festival in Phuket, Thailand (handheld, FPV, walk around)

Religious devotees whipped themselves and slashed their own bodies with blades in Thailand.

Thai-Chinese followers of the Taoist religion took part in the annual Vegetarian Festival in Phuket in the south of the country.

They believe that by entering a trance they are possessed by the Gods and the pain from the self-flagellation helps to cleanse their souls.

Footage shows the colourful parade with firecrackers, shrines and prayers on October 21.

According to locals, the ritual started in the 19th century when a Chinese opera group visiting the island fell ill with a malaria epidemic.  

The musical troop were doomed until they began worshipping the Nine Emperor Gods and cleansing their bodies by avoiding meat and practising self-flagellation. The bizarre practices have continued among believers.  

Participants said this year's festival had taken on extra significance because of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic gripping the world, which originated from Wuhan, China.  

Many believe that the pain from the piercings is a way to absorb the ills of their community onto themselves and help to bring good luck back.   

Devotee Warin Supattra, who took part in the ritual and is seen in the video, said: ''The world is suffering from the pandemic. Many followers have been affected, too. 

  ''Here there are no tourists anymore and people's lives are hurting. They are having a very hard time. Everyone is in pain and I believe our actions will help.''   The vegetarian festival takes place every year in the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar.   

Followers wearing white join the festivals and parades to cleanse their souls. During the nine-day period from October 17 to 25, they will abstain from meat, alcohol, sex and bad behaviour. Pregnant and menstruating women must stay at home.  

The festival is normally packed with tourists from around the world but Thailand closed its borders on March 22 and has not re-opened to holidaymakers since.


By: NewsFlare (98583.00)

Tags: Religion, devotees, whip themselves, vegetarian festival

Location: Thailand