Fire Walking and Fire Running - Phuket Vegetarian Festival 2012

After visiting Bang Neow last year I was prepared - water, extra batteries, tripod and memory card. 

Jeng Ong is a smaller shrine in Phuket Town but I did want to see more of the Vegetarian Festival this year, so this was my choice.

I arrived 40 minutes before the event was scheduled to start and Jeng Ong Shrine looked beautiful against the dark sky - it was resplendent in colours lights and noise - again an intoxicating environment. It was also lovely to see so many people dressed in white, as wished for and I disagree with the 'visitor' not to show respect by wearing white.

I entered the Shrine and was surprised to see two young men in grey cloth chanting and one of them was banging a stick against a wooden block, is this something significant?

After a while I graduated to the framed off area and the burning coals - immediately I was struck by the fact that I was not sweltering - last year at Bang Neow it was. The men from the Shrine then began to flatten and enlarge the coals.

Four smaller shrines were set up at each corner and were tended to by a member of the shrine staff and then a member of the Mah Songs. A Mah Song came from the Shrine to 'discuss' with the Shrine staff whether it was ready - meanwhile the possessed left the shrine and waited.

Beautiful - until I realised that the the burning coal area was ready but it was only a small square, I had been used to the long track of burning coals at Bang Neow Shrine.

The Mah Songs suddenly began to run across the burning coals and run is the operative word here. Two steps and the run is finished - there was only one person who actually walked over the coals and I applaud him for that. Logically this can be done - maybe I will have a go next year? Who do I contact to have a go?

After the running over the hot coals the Mah Song returned to the Shrine to be released from the Chinese Spirits and bless any of the onlookers.

Lost my white baseball hat - it was not there when I left the Shrine - but this will mean that I have been released from my bad luck for this year - thank you. I had some lovely Vegetarian Street food on the way out but still don't go for Tofu much...