Rev­ellers pierce their cheeks with swords, nee­dles and even span­ners at a Thai fes­ti­val

Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka) - - TOP STORIES FROM AROUND THE WORLD -

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

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