Phuket Festival & Events
Phuket Vegetarian Festival. Is held from the first through the ninth nights of the ninth Chinese lunar month; that is, in September or October. It was first celebrated in 1825, when a troupe of actors enacted these rites toward off a plague. Vegetarian food is eaten by participants and white clothes worn during the period of the fest. Self utilization is practiced by those whose bodies become the temporary residence of powerful gods. Parades of worshippers brave fireworks while carrying images through the street; others walk on fire or climb bladed ladders. Participants number in the thousands. The whole forms one of the most bizarre festivals in Thailand.
Tourist Season Opening Festivals.
Usually called the Patong Carnival in English according to from the place where celebrations occur, and is held on November 1. There are many stalls with merchandise and food, parades, sports event, and a beauty competition for foreign tourists. The fest is held to cement solidarity among the government, the private business sector, and the people.
Phuket King's Cup Regatta.
Was first held in 1987 in honor of His Majesty's 60th birthday. The King of Thailand is a noted boating enthusiast and yachts come from around the world to participate in the competition, which is the largest and most popular in Southeast Asia. It is held yearly on the anniversary of His Majesty's birthday, 5 December. Site of the regatta is Nai Harn Bay.
Loi Krathong Festival.
Loi Krathong is a tradition believed to have been influenced by the Indian Lantern or Diwali Festival, in which floats are made in worship of the three Brahmin Gods Bhrama, Vishnu, and Shiva. The belief was adapted to fit in with the Thai agrarian way of life, dependent upon the flow of water, changing it into a festival where one pay obeisance to Phra Mae Khongkha, the goddess of water. The practice became widespread nationally and internationally in due course, and has become synonymous with the Thai Culture. While each region will heave its own variations, the krathongs (floats) are normally shaped as a lotus from locally available materials.
The floats are decorated with incense and candles allowed to float along with the flow of the river. Some would put in nail clippings and strands of hair into the krathong as well, in the belief that the sins of the past year would be washed away; some place coins in the krathong as a way of making merit; some wish for love. Once the krathongs are on their way there would normally be fireworks and other festivities to be enjoyed like Krathong Competition, and Nang Nopphamat Pageant, Loi Krathong, Games.
Chao Le Boat Floating Festival (Sea Gypsy)
Falls during the middle of the sixth and eleventh lunar months yearly. The fest is held at the Chao Le, or Sea Gipsy or Orang Laout, villages in Phuket. The Rawai and Sapam villages hold their ceremonies on the 13th; Sire village celebrates on the 14th; and the village at Laem La (east of the bridge on Phuket's northern tip) celebrates on the 15th. Ceremonies, which center on the setting adrift of small boats similar to the Thai Festival of Loy Krathong, are held at night and their purpose is to drive away evil and to bring good luck. Fingernail clipping and strands of hair are put in the little boats before being released, along with little dolls fashioned from wood. Afterwards, the villagers perform their famous dance round their own boats, called the Ram Rong Ngeng.
Turtle Release Fair.
Is held on Songkran, the nationwide Thai water festival, on April 13. It is also the National Fisherman's Day. Baby turtles are released into the sea at various locations.
13-15 April the word Songkran is derived from a Sanskrit word meaning 'passing' or 'moving', measuring the movement of the sun through the twelve astrological signs beginning with Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces; each passing taking approximately 30 days through each sign. It takes a year for the sun to pass through all the signs.
This calendar is in use in India and the Southeast Asian Nations that have been influenced by India-Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, etc. The 13th is Maha Songkran day, the first day of the New Year celebrations, when the sun moves from Pisces into Aries, and when the lengths of the day and night are equal.Songkran is an important merit making period lasting three days, being
- Maha Songkran Day, last day of the old year (13th)
- Klang or Nao Day, New Year's Eve (14th)
- New Year or Thaloengsok Day (15th)