'Lam Tao' and 'Pak Tao' Invitation Ritual - Phuket Vegetarian Festival


'Lam Tao' is the God that keeps track of the living and 'Pak Tao' is the God that keeps track of the dead.

Sapan Hin beach and Kiew Tiang Keng Shrine was the place for the major invitations and departures for these Gods - click here for 2013.


very calm...
The area was remarkable calm compared to previous visits that I made this year, the Shrine was not in a hectic mood but things were calm - was it me or was it the absence of the media? - I seemed to be the only Westerner in the Shrine?

The roads had been blocked and the grass area in front of the beach had been roped off and there were a number of people waiting, some had candles and others were calmly waiting.



are they possessed by the statue of the God in front?





video

The drums began inside the Shrine and then men came in to be possessed. 



There was one who I watched be possessed by what I imagine was an 'older God' because he stood up with a stick and walked very slowly.




The possessed danced in front of the effigies and went outside to join the others.



Outside a bonfire had been built and was quietly burning.


Inside the shrine there was a different feeling - there were a number of female Ma Song and they were blessing people in the Shrine.






This was clearly important for this parent.

were they looking at me, was I chosen?
I received a blessing and a string from this female Mah Song.



I spent so long in the Shrine with these Spirits I missed the actual invitation ceremony and only witnessed the group returning to the Shrine!





At this point some of the possessed were invited to get onto trucks and others started to lead the walk out of Sapan Hin into Phuket Town.


The walk was a very quiet affair - especially compared to Sapan Hin on the last night of the Vegetarian Festival.