Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Giselle Natassia | Thailand's Vegetarian Festival

Photo © Giselle Natassia - All Rights Reserved
This blog post will lead to a photo gallery that featured graphic and possibly disturbing images.

The Nine Emperor Gods Festival is a nine-day Taoist celebration starting on the eve of the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar, and is observed in a number of Asian countires, including Thailand.

In Thailand, this festival is called thetsakan kin che or the Vegetarian Festival. Celebrated throughout the entire country, it is at its height in Phuket, where more than a third of the population is Thai Chinese. The festival honors the nine Taoist emperor gods. During the Vegetarian Festival, Thai people practice jay, or veganism.

Men (rarely women) participate in this self-mutilation ritual, and are called masongs. They are men possessed by gods or deities during the festival. Only pure, unmarried men without families of their own can become a masong.
 The deities inside them protects them from feeling any pain, and allows them to walk across hot coals or exploding fireworks and bathe in hot oil. They pierce their mouths, cheeks, ears, and arms with fish hooks, knives, razor blades and bamboo poles.

Often, a person is contacted during a dream, vision, or period of long illness, and are told they have been chosen to become a masong. There are several reasons that a masong is chosen. The chosen person may be close to impending doom or death, and becoming a masong extends their lifetime. Also, such a person may be rewarded for maintaining good moral qualities during their lifetime.

After this preamble, you might be ready to view Giselle Natassia's Vegetarian Festival.

Giselle Natassia is an Australian photographer specializing in advertising, documentary and entertainment photography. She has a BA in Creative Advertising Design and a Bachelor of Creative Industries. She won numerous awards and has been published both at home and abroad. The publications include National Geographic, Vice Magazine and Pilerats.