Revellers pierce their cheeks with swords, needles and even spanners at a Thai festival
DAILY MAIL, 12 OCTOBER 2018 - A vegetarian festival has seen revellers pierce their faces with dozens of needles, large metal spanners and swords in a bizarre religious ritual.
Several Asian communities flock to the annual event held in the tropical island of Phuket, Thailand held in the ninth lunar new year.
Also known as the Taoist ‘Nine Emeperor God’s Festival’, participants demonstrate their devotion through stomach-turning pain trials.
Shocking images reveal devotees piercing their cheeks, mouth and tongue with a variety of large and sharp objects, including a mass of needles, large metal spanners, a collection of swords and knives.
Other faith trials also include running over hot coal.
Medics are present as festival goers put themselves to the test as they endure the pain of stretching their faces with weapons.
Participants must adhere to strict rules throughout the week-and-a-half long festival, including abstinence
from sex, drinking and gambling.
Devotees also abstain from meat and dress in white throughout the duration of the event.
The rituals are symbolic of purification, where participants hope to gain good health and peace of mind. According to local folklore, the island began celebrating the vegetarian festival in the early 1800s when illness struck a visiting opera troupe from China.
When devotees adopted a vegetarian diet and paid respect to nine emperor gods, they were miraculously cured of their illness.
Also known as the Taoist ‘Nine Emeperor God’s Festival’, participants demonstrate their religious devotion through stomach-turning pain trials
A devotee bravely piercing slitting his cheeks with two massive swords at the vegetarian festival
A vegetarian festival has seen revellers pierce their faces with dozens of needles, palms and large metal spanners and swords in a bizarre ritual