PHUKET — The purification week of 2019 vegetarian festival, or Kin Jae, entered its sixth day with parades of mediums channeling divine powers by shoving swords and blades into their bodies.
The iconic spectacle of Kin Jae returned to the streets of Phuket today, where dozens of the ma song, or spiritual channelers, walked in parades with swords, knives, needles, umbrellas, flags, and all kinds of imaginable pointy devices stuck in their faces, mouths, and torsos.
Similar self-mutilation rituals also took place in Trang and Yala provinces.
Rooted in the Taoist belief of self-purification, followers of Kin Jae festival are required to refrain from eating animal products or committing impure acts until the holy week is over on Oct. 8.
The ma song are regarded by the faithfuls to be possessed by the gods, who bring pain and misfortune to themselves on behalf of those who follow the Kin Jae rituals.
Less extreme displays of Kin Jae zeal can be found in Prachuap Khiri Khan province, where a giant bowl of vegetarian rice bowl was cooked for hundreds of people. Festival worshipers, mostly with Thai-Chinese backgrounds, also head to temples while dressed in white and prayed for spiritual purity.