The Phuket Vegetarian Festival which marks the beginning of the Taoist lent, celebrates the local Chinese community’s belief that abstinence from meat alcohol and sex, during the ninth lunar month
of the Chinese calendar, will help them obtain good health and
peace of mind. During the 9 day festival, “mediums” in a state of trance, perform acts of self-mortification, walk on hot coals, climb bladed ladders…. Young men also carry altars with deity images during street parades which are covered with fire crackers to drive away evil spirits.