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Phuket Festivals and Events


  Phuket Vegetarian Festival 
is held from the first through the ninth nights of the ninth Chinese lunar month; that is, in September or October. It was first celebrated in 1825, when a troupe of actors enacted these rites toward off a plague. Vegetarian food is eaten by participants and white clothes worn during the period of the fest. Self mutilation is practiced by those whose bodies become the temporary residence of powerful gods. Parades of worshippers brave fireworks while carrying images through the street; others walk on fire or climb bladed ladders. Participants number in the thousands. The whole forms one of the most bizarre festivals in Thailand.

 Por Tor Festival
This is an ancestor's festival of the ethnic Chinese that falls on the seventh Chinese lunar month, which is the same as the ninth lunar month of the Thais. Special foods, flowers and candles are presented to the ancestor's altars. Cakes in the shape of turtles are made from flour. This is done because turtles live to great age and it is believed that by making such offering worshippers may extend the length of their lives. It is an important merit-making festival.

Seafood Festival
held around May yearly, is designed to publicize the delicious seafood of Phuket and attract visitors during the rainy season.
Activities include a Marine Tourism Resources Parade, seafood stalls, demonstrations of regional cuisines and cultural shows.

Thao Thep Krasatri-Thao Sri Suntorn Festival
is held on 13 March yearly in memory of the two heroines who led the defense of the island against the Burmese in 1785.

 Laguna Phuket Triathlon
This annual year end event sees the world's top triathletes and hundreds of amateurs competing for prize money and placing on the world triathlon circuit. The course, which includes swimming, bicycling, and running through the beautiful natural surroundings of Laguna Phuket in Tambon Choeng Thale, takes from two-and-a-half to five hours to complete.

 Turtle Release Fair
is held on Songkran, the nationwide Thai water festival, on April 13. It is also the National Fisherman's Day. 
Baby turtles are released into the sea at various locations.

 Tourist Season Opening Festival
is usually called the Patong Carnival in English according to from the place where celebrations occur, and is held on November 1. There are many stalls with merchandise and food, parades, sports event, and a beauty competition for foreign tourists. The fest is held to cement solidarity among the government, the private business sector, and the people.

 Chao Le Boat Floating Festival( Sea Gypsy )
falls during the middle of the sixth and eleventh lunar months yearly. The fest is held at the Chao Le, or Sea Gipsy, villages in Phuket. The Rawai and Sapam villages hold their ceremonies on the 13th; Sire village celebrates on the 14th; and the village at Laem La (east of the bridge on Phuket's northern tip) celebrates on the 15th. Ceremonies, which center around the setting adrift of small boats similar to the Thai Festival of Loy Krathong, are held at night and their purpose is to drive away evil and to bring good luck. Fingernail clipping and strands of hair are put in the little boats before being released, along with little dolls fashioned from wood. Afterwards, the villagers perform their famous dance round their own boats, called the Ram Rong Ngeng.

 Phuket King's Cup Regatta
was first held in 1987 in honor of His Majesty's 60th birthday. The King of Thailand is a noted boating enthusiast and yachts come from around the world to participate in the competition, which is the largest and most popular in Southeast Asia. It is held yearly on the anniversary of His Majesty's birthday, 5 December. Site of the regatta is Nai Harn Bay.

 Phuket Festival Fair
held on November 1, was first initiated in 1985 atPatong to welcome in the tourist season and designed to foster co-operation among tourism-related operators both in the private and public sectors. Many colorful and interesting activities are organized, such as merit-making in the morning, water sports contests, a Miss Visitor Contest, among others.

 Songkran Festival 13-15 April
The word Songkran is derived from a Sanskrit word meaning “passing” or "moving" , measuring the movement of the sun through the twelve astrological signs beginning with Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces; each passing taking approximately 30 days through each sign. It takes a year for the sun to pass through all the signs. This calendar is in use in India and the Southeast Asian Nations that have been influenced by India-Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, etc.
The 13th is Maha Songkran day, the first day of the new year celebrations, when the sun moves from Pisces into Aries, and when the lengths of the day and night are equal.

Songkran is an important merit making period lasting three days, being
Maha Songkran Day, last day of the old year (13th)
Klang or Nao Day, New Year's Eve (14th)
New Year or Thaloengsok Day (15th)

The legend of the Songkran Goddess
There is a specific godness associated with each day upon which the Maha Songkran Day falls i.e. Thungsa, Khorak, Raksot, Montha, Kirini, Kimitha, and Mahothon for Monday through to Sunday, respectively. The goddesses are the daughters of the god Maha Songkran, otherwise known as Kabinlaphrom, who lost his head in a wager with Thammabankuman. They are tasked with carrying his head so that it would not touch the ground lest the earth were to be incinerated, or the air lest the rain not fall, or the oceans as they would dry and up. So each year, the goddesses each take their turn in carrying his head on a celestrial salver.

The tradition has long been celebrated in Thailand; the celebrations providing families with an opportunity to get together, allowing youngsters the chance to pay respect to their elders and for the elders to bless the younger members of the family. It is a time of community, friendship, and renewal of ties. The community also gets a chance to pull together in making merit and engaging in other activities such as building sand stupas, splashing of water, and general spring cleaning of the home and temples, giving alms, releasing of birds and fish, Nang Songkran procession, bathing Buddha images, and seeking the benediction of family elders.

 Loi Krathong Festival

Loi Krathong is a tradition believed to have been influenced by the Indian Lantern or Diwali Festival, in which floats are made in worship of  the three Brahmin Gods Bhrama, Vishnu, and Shiva.
The belief was adapted to fit in with the Thai agrarian way of life, dependent upon the flow of water, changing it into a festival where one pay obeisance to Phra Mae Khongkha, the goddess of water. The practice became widespread nationally and internationally in due course, and has become synonymous with the Thai Culture.
While each region will heave its own variations, the krathongs (floats) are normally shaped as a lotus from locally available materials. The floats are decorated with incense and candles allowed to float along with the flow of the river. Some would put in nail clippings and strands of hair into the krathong as well, in the belief that the sins of the past year would be washed away; some place coins in the krathong as a way of making merit; some wish for love. Once the krathongs are on their way there would normally be fireworks and other festivities to be enjoyed like Krathong Competition, and Nang Nopphamat Pageant, Loi Krathong, Games.

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