PHUKET — A mystical trance ecstasy of ancient spirits and body modification took hold on the streets of Phuket on Tuesday, the fourth day of the Kin Jae Vegetarian Festival.
As happens every year, spirit mediums called Maa Song allow themselves to become possessed by spirits – often by the same beings each year – which compel them to bloody acts of self-mutilation.
The participants, mostly young men, pierce their faces with metal rods, swords, power tools, pistols, bicycle frames and more before parading through town.
Thousands of Thais and foreigners turned out to witness the parade in Phuket, where the Sino-Thai festival first spread in Thailand. A smaller event also took place in Korat, with 80 Maa Song walking six kilometers through the city.
In Ranong, despite the rain, the parade organized by a 138-year-old Chinese temple continued to greet people who set up tables waiting for the spirit-possessed participants to visit along the way.