Body piercing is something which seems to be one of the activities which draws the most photographers from outside Thailand to the Chinese Shrines early in the morning.
At 5 am Bang Neow Shrine was really quite peaceful - children were waiting at the front of the Shrine between the Tai Pian (sedans) playing with single firecrackers.
Some of the Tai Pan had an effigy already prepared in it,
some were empty and these were protected.
On approaching the Shrine it had only two Mai Song being pierced and this was the decorative piercing - the pins...
This was obviously started early because of the time that this must take for them to complete!
There was a child siting lonely whilst others prepared themselves.
At about 6:30am the Shrine was now busy with people watching the ritual of piercing. The parade started quietly with a number of Tai Pan leaving the Shrine.
People lined the road from Phuket Town to Sapan Hin and firecrackers were thrown at the carried Tai Pan - here were children practicing - only one firecracker was thrown! Returning to the Shrine it was immediately clear that there was a great number of people being pierced!
I believed that the standard way of piercing is with the effigy needles that are on display throughout the year in the Chinese Shrines.
Watching very carefully I saw this gentleman bless his needles before he used them, with the same yellow paper under the feet of the furniture in the shrine and put in the 'Lustral Waters'.
I wanted to focus on these but the morbid attraction of the 'modern way'
I could not resist...
The guns, the garden clippers and so much more.
Of course there were the possessed cutting their tongues.
In the front of the shrine there was a very competent person piercing the Mah Song - even giving advice to people who asked.
Something was not quite right when this Mah Song who was pierced with a large knife and he was immediately asked to help.
He swiftly moved to the Mah Song - he covered him with the black flag and said words for a minute and then released him... ?
This man was reciting words.
This gentleman reflected a Chinese Spirit with his action
The rituals continued and more people were pierced - the only way to experience this is to make an actual visit OR get a serious video camera so that you understand the environment - but no 'smell-ovision' yet!
The piercings came to a close and the pierced joined the parade to Sapan Hin and then to Jui Tui Shrine - when the last ones left the parade which had left previously were back to Bang Neow Shrine!
People all dressed in white were lining the streets to watch this parade walk past - a fantastic experience.
But I really do think that the tourists coming to watch should wear white and take their shoes off when they enter into the shrine.