By Gerrit Phil Baumann
On 4 October, Thais from across the country gathered in Bangkok to participate in Vijayadashami, the dawn-til-dusk celebration that ends the nine-day Hindu festival of Navatri. Khaosod English photographer Gerrit Phil Baumann brought his camera to follow the procession in Bangkok, which featured Brahmin priests, sacred powders, and spirit-possessed dancers.
The half-moon night of Vijayadashami ends Navaratri, one of the holiest festivals in the Hindu religion. Although 96% of Thais identify as Buddhists, many of them also worship Hindu gods and holidays.
Devotees come to Bangkok from all corners of the kingdom to receive a blessing. Shrines are organized by groups of friends and neighborhoods.
In Thailand, it's especially common for artists and creatives – such as this professional dancer – to worship Hindu deities.
A Brahmin priest arrives to bless the crowds with sacred powder.
Devotees wait with offerings for the another Brahmin to pass.
The Brahmins walk by in a trance-like state, appearing to feel no pain from the spears piercing their cheeks.
After the Brahmins pass, a marching band heralds the arrival of a wagon carrying a statue from inside a Hindu temple on Silom road.
Devotees queue up to present offerings to the statues.
The offerings contain fruits, nuts, spices, and flower garlands.
Security officers hectically order people to vacate the pedestrian bridge as no human is supposed to stand above sacred object.
The statues are guarded by military police. In 2006, the statue of Phra Phrom was destroyed by a mentally ill man who was then beaten to death by angry bystanders.
Brahmins collect garland offerings from believers.
A group of fortune tellers perform a rite inviting the deities to take over their bodies.
The gods have taken over and the mediums dance and speak in their voices.
Once the gods choose to leave the body of the mediums, they collapse in total exhaustion.
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