PHUKET – A devotee at the ongoing Phuket Vegetarian Festival has died after objects pierced through her cheeks failed to be pulled out.
Several devotees came to her assistance but she lost her life.
Swords, axe handles, kebab skewers and even a model boat were among the bizarre array of objects pushed through the devotees’ cheeks at the Phuket’s gruesome vegetarian festival.
Many Chinese communities across Southeast Asia go vegetarian this week for the annual Taoist “Nine Emperor Gods” festival but few do it with quite the gusto and shock factor of Phuket’s inhabitants.
Throughout the week devotees show their religious devotion through ritualistic self-mutilation and pain trials, including running over hot coals and piercing their bodies with an astonishing — and stomach-turning — variety of objects.
At a temple on the outskirts of Phuket’s main town on Sunday, dozens of people put themselves to the test.
Dressed in flowing robes they worked themselves into a trance-like frenzy against a constant backdrop of drums, a status they say allows them to feel no pain.
One man shook his head from side to side before another created a hole in his cheek with a large metal spike, watched over by medics.
The bowsprit of a large model boat was then threaded through the hole before he joined a parade through town to show off their new facial accessories.
“It’s an unforgettable experience,” 55-year-old Canadian tourist Barry Rafftery told AFP