Vegetarian Festival 2015 Full Schedule

Vegetarian Festival at Bun Tao Gong Temple

Vegetarian Festival 2015 Full Schedule

Bun Tao Gong Temple

Here’s our full round up of events happening at this year’s Vegetarian Festival in Khao Lak.

The schedule is for the Bun Tao Gong Temple which is the largest Chinese Temple in the area. The Temple is located in Khuk Khak on Soi San Jao (Khuk Khak Beach Road). This is the main focus of temple activities for the Khao Lak community. More background information on the history of the festival and the various ceremonies is available here

San Jao Bun Tao Gong Temple in Khuk Khak

Most of the big events will be taking place at Bun Dtao Gong Temple in Khuk Khak. This is just a ten minute drive North of Khao Lak centre along Highway 4. To take a Taxi there you can show the driver the Temple name in Thai:

ศาลเจ้าบุนเท่าก๋ง

Make sure you either arrange to be picked up, or ask the driver to wait, as it may be hard to find a taxi home. Entrance to the Temple is free but it is suggested to leave a donation to help them with renovations.

If you can not make it to Khuk Khak then similar proceedings also happen at the Chinese Temple in Bang Niang and the Chinese Shrine in the Nang Thong Beach area.

Road sign for Soi San Chao
Monday 12th

Lantern Pole Raising

The raising of the lantern pole marks the start of the nine day Vegetarian Festival.

This event happens at all Chinese temples in the Khao Lak area between 3:00 and 5:00pm.

The pole itself can be either a tree trunk or bamboo. At the top of the pole, nine lanterns are hung from a piece of bamboo.The nine lanterns must remain lit during the entire Vegetarian Festival.

The pole is the spirit pole down which the Gods can descend into the temple. This is the most auspicious part of the Vegetarian Festival and not to be missed.

Evening

Procession of the Mahsong from Tung Waa School to Bun Tao Gong Temple.

These processions will take place in different places every day. You should try to see at least one. More information about the ‘Mahsong’ is available here

Midnight

Worship of the Gods at Bun Tao Gong to announce the beginning of the festival (will also feature one of the Mah Song being possessed).

Tuesday 13th

Ceremonial Ritual

Devotees will offer prayer and worship to all the Gods that have descended to Bun Tao Gong Temple. This ceremonial ritual takes place after dark (approx. 19:00).

Devotees will pray to all the Chinese statues inside the temple.

Whorship at Bun Tao Gong Temple
Wednesday 14th

Mah Song Procession

In the morning of the 14th October, the Mah Song will visit the villages heading north from Baan Bang Muang towards Takua Pa, including Tung Noy, Pru Dtiaw and Yaan Yaaw.

Evening

Worship of the Gods at Bun Tao Gong Temple.

Mah Song Procession

In the morning of the 15th October, the Mah Song will visit Laem Kaen Market, Baan Tap Lamu and Bang La On (South Khao Lak).

Afternoon

Offerings of food to the ‘Tahaan Pra’ (God’s Army) at Bun Tao Gong Temple.

Food and other offerings will be put out in front of the Temple around the flags where the Gods convene during the festival.

God’s army refers to the various Gods and Spirits that protect the Temple.

Evening

Worship of Lam Dtao and Bpak Tao at Bun Tao Gong Temple.

These two Gods are the record keepers of human life. Lam Dtao records all births and Bpak Dtao records all deaths.

Friday 16th

Mah Song Procession

In the morning of the 16th October, the Mah Song will visit Baan Bang Niang heading north towards Build Factory.

Evening

Exorcism Ritual Over the Bridge at Bun Tao Gong Temple.

This ritual begins with prayer in the Temple. Then devotees cross a small bridge and throw a one Baht coin into a pool. Lastly, rice is thrown over devotees and bad spirits are said to leave their bodies.

Mah Song visits dwellings in Khuk Khak
Saturday 17th

Mah Song Procession

On the morning of the 17th October, the Mah Song will visit Khuk Khak Temple and school and the fresh market opposite the bus station.

Evening

Ceremony of  ‘Pra Chin’ (the premier God)

The Premier God ‘Pra Chin’ will possess the body of one individual Mah Song who will then proceed to flick hot water over his own body and the bodies of the other Mah Song using palm leaves.

Sunday 18th

Mah Song Procession

On the morning of the 18th October, the Mah Song will visit houses on Khuk Khak Beach Road (Soi San Jao) and around Bun Tao Gong Temple.

813 Special Tip

There are many Mah Song processions but today’s is probably the best. Khuk Khak Beach Road is closest to the Temple and has a large Thai-Chinese population. If you only get to witness one procession, make it this one.

Afternoon

 Offerings of food to the ‘Tahaan Pra’ (God’s Army) at Bun Tao Gong Temple.

Evening

Exorcism Ritual Over the Bridge at Bun Tao Gong Temple.

This ritual begins with prayer in the Temple. Then devotees cross a small bridge and throw a one Baht coin into a pool. Lastly, rice is thrown over devotees and bad spirits are said to leave their bodies.

Food offerings during the Vegetarian Festival
Monday 19th

Mah Song Procession

On the morning of the 19th October, the Mah Song will visit Pak Weep and Baan Bang Ka Ya (Tsunami Village).

Afternoon

Free Vegetarian Food

Approximately 70 stalls line the Khuk Khak Beach Road (Soi San Jao), from near the Soi’s entrance down to the Community Hall and offer free vegetarian food.

813 Special Tip

This event officially begins at 17:00 but we seriously recommend you arrive as early as 16:00 as the event may begin a little earlier and all the food will be gone by 5pm. Try the spring rolls.

Evening

Ceremony to Worship the Chinese Birth Stars at Bun Tao Gong Temple.

There will be a line with eight stars representing each day of the week. Eight because Thai Buddhism splits Wednesday into morning and afternoon.

Buddhists will make an offering of a flower and other small gifts to their birth star. All Buddhists will know what day of the week they were born. If you would like to make an offering you will also need to know the day of your birth which you can find here.

Tuesday 20th

Fire Walking at Bun Tao Gong Temple.

After dark there is the biggest, longest and most authentic fire walking ceremony in the Province.

Embers from burning an entire tree make this by far the longest fire walk in the area. Other places sometimes cool down the embers by throwing various substances like rice over the top.

Bun Tao Gong is completely genuine. Extremely hot embers are used because devotees believe the Mah Song are not injured as they are possessed by the Gods. Other vegetarian Buddhists are allowed to take part with the aid of the Mah Song.

Wednesday 21

Carrying of the God’s Statue

Between 12:00 – 14:00 there is a ceremony where the God’s Statue is carried over the bridge near the Khuk Khak Community Hall on Khuk Khak Beach Road (Soi 3).

Afternoon

Offerings of food to the ‘Tahaan Pra’ (God’s Army) at Bun Tao Gong Temple takes place in the afternoon.

Evening

Exorcism Ritual Over the Bridge at Bun Tao Gong Temple.

This ritual begins with prayer in the Temple. Then devotees cross a small bridge and throw a one Baht coin into a pool. Lastly, rice is thrown over devotees and bad spirits are said to leave their bodies.

Late

Ritual of Releasing the Bad Spirits at the Community Hall Bridge on Khuk Khak Beach Road (Soi 3) at approximately 21:00.

Banana leaves or similar combustibles are burnt to symbolise the burning of bad spirits, similar to the end of an exorcism.

Later, all remaining firecrackers will be set off. Khuk Khak Beach Road will be busy and loud late into the night.

The Nang Thong Chinese Shrine
Thursday 22

Final Worshipping Ceremony

Between 13:00 – 17:00 there will be the Final Worshipping Ceremony at the Bun Tao Gong Temple.

The Lantern Pole will be lowered bringing a close to the Vegetarian Festival for 2015.

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