Go Teng pole raising - Phuket Vegetarian Festival 2014

The Go Teng Pole is what is erected at each Shrine and it is an invitation for the gods to descend.

On arrival at Bang Neow Shrine it was clearly a festival which is celebrated by a very large community and the majority was dressed in white.

Pae Leng (Lee Loh Chia) head medium of the shrine begins the ceremony by going to the pole at the front of the Shrine and scattering rice. 

Following this he then went with his entourage to each physical corner of the property where a ceremony was performed with him presiding over a dance performed by one of his followers.

This year I watched him go into far more places than previously - the kitchens, a smaller shrine and a smaller kitchen.

It was at this point that a long yellow string was unravelled and was held by all of the onlookers at the temple - lifting it when ever the medium needed to walk through.

Pae Leng returned to the Pole in the middle and he blessed the pole by writing on it as he had in the kitchen until he had reached the end. 

This is when the noise erupted. All the people pulled the ropes and the pole was soon up. Then the pole was 'hammered' into place.The yellow strings were then collected by the onlookers and tied to their wrist or tied to a figurine in their home.

As the pole reached the top fire crackers were let off.

Some people brought their figurines from their homes or their business to be blessed and / or part of the ceremony.

Some people knelt down in the hope of being blessed.

We were then taken into Bang Neow Shrine where the candle lights were being prepared - this all took place in the part of the Shrine which had all the female Chinese figurine - was this significant?

There was clearly more than nine people who were holding a candle ready to be placed in the receptacle which would be placed on the Go Teng pole.

 When it was ready Pae Leng blessed it

snapped his whip and then left the shrine.

Others simply watched.

The nine lights represent the 'Emperor Gods' but two more were also invited - Yok Ong Hong Tae and Kiew Ong Tai Tee.

Leaving the Shrine the roads were bust with people and with vegetarian food.

The crowd began to disperse and I made my way to be picked up and was struck by this shop - I am sure that it used to sell motorbike helmets but not any longer!

In response to a common question was that some pierced people from last year can be seen again and the face did not heal (top photograph).