Krabi Vegetarian Festival – 2010

October 20, 2010 by  
Filed under Local News & Event

Raising The Yellow flags.
Posted By KDSH

In Thailand, the vegetarian festival is celebrated throughout the country as Gin Jae, also known as the Nine Emperor Gods Festival. Popularized by the Chinese migrants with its cultural roots and legends in provinces like Bangkok, Phuket,  Krabi, Trang, Hatyai and throughout the country. Every year, during  the first  nine days of the Chinese 9th lunar month – usually in early October, the streets comes alive with fluttering yellow flags displayed in restaurants, supermarkets and food stalls. During this festival, devotees are dressed all in white and must be ritually clean, having abstained from sex and observed a vegetarian diet for the past nine days. Vendors selling their vegetarian food at their establishments by displaying yellow flags with the Chinese  character “Jae ” written on it in red.

Various beliefs and legends ……
The festival of the Nine Emperor Gods is held in remembrance of the nine brothers from a fishing village in Fujian Province escorting a Ming Dynasty prince to escape… to Kongka – the present day Songkhla in Thailand via Yunnan. They navigated and arrived under the guidance of the nine heavenly northern stars and lived their lives as recluses. Later as the stories goes, nine prayer urns were found floating off the sea of Songkhla, other says Phuket Island instead. These urns are believed to be the manifestations of the nine brothers whose spirits have ascended to the Southern Heavens. Their annual appearances among the Chinese communities along the coasts led to the welcoming and sending-off ceremonies of the festival where prayer urns are regarded as the vehicles of the Nine Emperor Gods.

Another version …..
Relating that some fishermen from Kongka – present day Songkhla, found a vase sealed with talisman paper floating in the sea with voices calling for help. As the boat approached the vase, they were instructed to unseal the vase. They did as they were told and saw nine heads soaring into the sky in broad daylight! Later one of the fishermen had a dream in which the nine divine brothers warned him of an impending storm, but assured him that he would be safe if he erected a flag on the masthead with “Jiuhuangye” (Nine Emperor Gods) written on it. The fisherman followed the instruction, but the other crews just laughed at him when he advised them to do the same. Sure enough, the next time they set sail there was an unusually fierce storm, and all the boats except the one bearing the flag were wrecked and their crews drowned……

Krabi Celebration
Trance dances and rituals that are performed in the streets of Krabi during the Vegetarian Festival are believed to purify the environment for the general well-being of the local community. The procession is led by the entranced spirit mediums to the beat of the drum and gong. Showing religious faith in the power of the Nine Emperor Gods to bring good luck, cure sickness, longevity and wealth is sufficient encouragements for the devotees to participate in the rituals. Believers from the respective temples gathered around Krabi River for the send off by ferries loaded with burning joss sticks, incense, ritual items and firing crackers that symbolizing an end to the religious fervour and joy of the worshippers and spectators.

2010 Krabi Vegetarian Festival – Videos

Part One –
Part Two –
Part Three

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