The Chinese community in Phuket, Thailand, has ended its period of abstinence with a festival featuring people who pierce their bodies and go through self-inflicted pain in the belief they are driving out their demons.
Thailand’s Chinese spend the ninth month of the lunar calendar abstaining from meat and various stimulants in the belief that doing so will bring them health and peace of mind.
Piercing and fire-walking are among the activities devotees undertake in what they hope will purge their bodies of evil spirits.
Thailand is host to many vegetarian festivals toward the end of October each year. The festivals get their name because so many participants have given up meat over the previous weeks.
Phuket’s vegetarian festival is one of the biggest in Thailand and has become a popular tourist attraction, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand. About 10,000 onlookers are believed to have attended the festival finale over the weekend.