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Thailand's Dreadful 'Nine Emperor Gods' Vegetarian Festival (Photos)

The Nine Emperor God festival is a nine-day elaborate celebration beginning on the eve of the ninth lunar month according to the Chinese calendar. This festival is mostly celebrated in Southeast Asian countries like Singapore, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, Indonesia and also South Vietnam. 

During this festival, the devotees pierce their bodies with an astonishing array of objects in the holy name of purification.

Thailand's Dreadful 'Nine Emperor Gods' Vegetarian Festival (Photos)

Thailand's Dreadful 'Nine Emperor Gods' Vegetarian Festival (Photos)

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Ritualistic self-mutilation of devotees

Ritualistic self-mutilation of devotees

During the course of these nine days, the devotees forecast their religious devotion through pain trials which include the brutal practice of piercing their bodies.

A devotee in the festival

A devotee in the festival

The followers follow their rituals against the constant backdrop of drums and exploring fire-crackers which help them to feel no pain.

History says it all

History says it all

The local folklore believes that the island started celebrating this elaborate festival after 1825, which is perhaps more than 150 years old. It is quoted when a Chinese opera troupe which was fallen ill recovered after praying to the Nine God Emperors and adhering to a very strict and disciplined diet.

A true devotee

A true devotee

The number of participants in this festival shows the much they believe in it and follow it wholeheartedly. They are willing to take this pain to turn their life into glory.

The emphasis of purification

The emphasis of purification

The most important aspect of this festival is the feeling of purification. The participants or the devotees must follow some strict rules during the course of this festival. Sex, eating meat, drinking and gambling are not allowed during these nine days.

The welcome ritual

The welcome ritual

During the nine days, worshipers from all over visit the temple to seek blessings. They receive charm, yellow threads and steal stamps to ward off the evils of the past year.

The passion of the devotees

The passion of the devotees

The participants believe that this would help them to be a better person and all their sins will be washed away. No gain without pain is the motive and the prime reason for this festival.

Sending off ritual

Sending off ritual

The ritual to send off the Gods start on the ninth day. Lion dancers, stilt walkers, and musicians playing drums attracts the worshippers and all others who come to witness this festival. 

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