Coconuts TV: Ritual tattoos unleash the beasts within

Hordes of freshly inked men transform into snarling power animals each year at a temple just northwest of the Thai capital.

An annual tradition, devotees and curious foreigners converge each March at the Wat Bang Phra temple to sit under the needle at the sak yant festival. Sak yant tattoos aren’t meant to just look cool, in fact they’re believed to infuse their holders with magic abilities. And the best place to see these mystical forces at work is the festival’s famous Wai Khru gathering, where participants become wildly possessed by the spirits of their animal tattoos. 

Coconuts TV joined the annual pilgrimage to this mystical – and as we learned perilous – festival, where our correspondent joined in the fervent fun.


Photo Essay: Wat Bang Phra Tattoo Festival 2014

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