When thinking about the famous Phuket Vegetarian Festival, it is perhaps easy to forget in the glare of tourist-oriented promotions and dazzling images of the festivities that expanding inclusivity for those who can’t ordinarily afford to participate is of social benefit to the Phuket community. Making a celebration and activity as expansive as possible is a positive approach to a long-standing cultural activity to ensure where possible that people are not unnecessarily left behind.
Our Team took it upon themselves to assist a small shrine in Srisoonthorn, Thalang, Phuket, to give provisions for the preparation of food for the Festival to be distributed to homeless people and those living on or below the poverty line nearby.
The vegetarian festival in Phuket took place in 2022 from 25 September – 5 October 2022 (9 days). The dates change every year, because the Festival is based on the Chinese lunar calendar. In Phuket, the common phrase used to discuss the Festival is “Gin Je” and the festival is known as “Tesagan Gin Je”. The origins of the Festival are rooted in the Chinese migration to Phuket and a ceremony to appease the Gods to prevent the spread of disease. Abstinence and an adherence to a set of rules during the Festival Period are considered highly important. Some residents participate in eating vegetarian dishes for a few days or for the entirety of the 9 day period.
There are many shrines around Phuket but our team chose the Srisoonthorn shrine because one of our team members grew up in the area and knew that the shrine provides help and support to those in need of it.
This shrine needs generous contributions to undertake renovations and to maintain it and to purchase fresh and dried ingredients such as rice, vegetables, cooking oil, seasoning, and drinking water to make 2 meals per day for the community.
This activity is not limited to the time of the Vegetarian Festival only.
Each day the shrine gives food to the community 2 twice – from 10.30 – 12.00 and then again from 16.00 – 18.00
Hughes Krupica donated fresh vegetables, seasoning, soybean and protein substitutes which are used to replace meat and our team also joined in the cooking and provision of the foods to local people.
Our team member Khun Kanchan (Fern) said “It would have melted your heart when they said ‘Thank you’ and leave the smiling face to us.”
We have included details of the contact for the shrine for those who might wish to contribute.