Vegetarian Festival in Thailand
Hello Farang friends, do you know that today is the second day of the vegetarian festival. Most Thais know about this festival but not everyone will have vegetarian food at this festival. Only Chinese overseas families will do. But, what is the vegetarian festival? How long will it take? And what kind of food we can eat? Let’s talk about it in this blog.
What is the Vegetarian Festival?
We believe that the vegetarian festival was started around 400 years ago. During that time Chinese were invaded by Manchu people. Therefore, a group of Chinese use Taoism custom to wear all in white and omit eating meat to pray for goodness and they believe doing like this will add their strength to fight with Manchu.
However, their action of wearing white and eating vegetarian food was not succeeding. They still lost to the Chinese. Therefore, the later generation wears white and has vegetarian food for 9 days to recall their sacrifice and bravery.
There is another legend that says that we have vegetarian food for 9 days to bless for 9 gods and goddesses. During the period of time that we have vegetarian food is the time of the year that these god and goddess come down to earth to bless for a human being. Therefore, we also bless them and do good things for them. And the best way of doing good is to neglect lives. So we don’t kill and eat meat, we only eat vegetables.
When is the Vegetarian Festival?
The vegetarian festival is 1st to 9th of the ninth month of the Chinese lunar calendar. But for Chinese overseas custom, we will have 1 meal earlier and 1 meal later for these 9 days. We say that we need to clear our stomachs from meat before and after the festival so that we are really pure from meat.
But some of strict family will begin 1 day before and finish 1 day after the festival for them to be really pure from meat.
Some even more strict families will clean all kitchen utensils before the vegetarian festival. They believe that they need to wash off all scent of none vegetarian festival to be really pure vegetarian during the festival. And some families even more strict than they have another set of utensils specially used for the vegetarian festival.
Which kind of food is not allowed during the Vegetarian Festival?
We will neglect lives, therefore; we won’t eat meat. No matter it is what kind of animal, we won’t eat. We will only eat vegetables. This is including all ingredients of the food. The ingredient that is added into the food for example fish sauce is made by fish, therefore we are not able to add the fish sauce into our food.
Every kind of food that comes from part of animal are not allow either. For example, milk produced by cow, which is a part of anima, we are not allow to eat.
Aside from the food that contains animal or part of the animal, there are 5 kinds of strong scent vegetables that are not allowed in vegetarian food. Chinese believe that these vegetables are harmful to our body elements.
1. Onion, it is harmful to water element which is harmful to kidneys.
2. Garlic, it is harmful to fire element which is harmful to the heart.
3. Leek, it is harmful to wood element which is harmful to the liver.
4. Rakkyo, it is harmful to earth element which is harmful to the spleen. (This is a kind of Chinese garlic)
5. Tobacco, it is harmful to metal element which is harmful to our lung.
Where is the most famous for Vegetarian Festival in Thailand?
There are 2 areas that are the most popular for Vegetarian Festival which are Bangkok China Town and Phuket province.
In Bangkok China town right now, all over the area will be covered by the Vegetarian Festival flag. And everywhere will sell vegetarian food. There are a lot of kinds of supplementary food to replace meat. We call it fake meat. We supplement protein from meat with tofu and textured vegetable protein. Therefore, in Chinatown now there are a lot of kinds of textured vegetable protein. And also a lot of ready to serve vegetarian food.
Phuket is a very famous town for vegetarians. There are a lot of overseas Chinese families there. Therefore, many areas in Phuket during the vegetarian festival will have activities and decorate with vegetarian festival flags.
This is an interesting festival in Thailand. Although the vegetarian festival is not a Thai cultural festival, it is a famous festival in Thailand. We believe that neglect lives for 9 days continuously is one of the big goodness we can do in a year. If you are interesting, this year’s the vegetarian festival is from 17th to 25th October. You can try to have vegetarian food during this time.
For more tricks and hacks of being in Thailand, please follow us at Howtofarang. We will share a lot of correct way to be a Farang in Thailand.