Extreme piercing, hot coal walking and spirit trances are staples of Thailand’s Vegetarian Festival [GRAPHIC CONTENT]

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Ritual Vegetarianism in Phuket, Thailand traces its roots back to the early 1800’s. The annual festival begins on the first evening of the ninth lunar month and lasts for nine days. Participants in the festival perform acts of body piercing as a means of shifting evil spirits from individuals onto themselves and bring the community good luck. The ritualized mutilation is performed at a local Buddhist shrine under a trance-like state and is careful supervised.