Phuket celebrates Vegetarian Festival with blood, swords, and spirits (PHOTO ESSAY)

Photo: Guy Houben/ Coconuts Media

Believing that Chinese gods have possessed them, the spirit mediums, locally known as ma song, pierce their body parts to prove to their worshippers that they have truly been possessed because they show no signs of pain.

Phuket is the home of the festival and the ma song attract half a million visitors each year.

According to legend, a visiting troupe of Chinese opera singers recovered from malaria only after supplicating to the gods and following the je diet nearly 200 years ago.

Despite the Phuket Health Office urging them not to get gruesome piercings, hundreds of ma song still paraded through the town this year with swords, knives and various other random items in their faces.

Coconuts Bangkok went to Phuket to capture some of the facial piercings, which amazed and shocked thousands of onlookers.

Photos: Guy Houben/ Coconuts Media

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