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Phuket | Local Festivals and Culture
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LOCAL FESTIVALS AND CULTURE

Thao Thep Krasattri-Thao Sri Soontorn Festival is held 13 March yearly in memory of the two heroines who led the defense of the island against the Burmese in 1785.

Turtle Release Fair is held on Songkran, the nationwide Thai water festival, on 13 April. This date is also National Fisherman’s Day. Baby turtles are released into the sea at various locations.

Chao Lay Boat Floating Festival falls during the middle of the sixth and eleventh lunar months yearly. The festal is held at the Chao Lay, or Sea Gypsy, villages in Phuket. The Rawai and Sapam villages hold their ceremonies on the 13th; Sirey village celebrates on the 14th; and the village at Laem La (east of the bridge on Phuket’s northerntip) celebrates on the 15th Ceremonies, which center around the setting adrift of small boats similar to the Thai festival of Loy Krathong, are held at night and their purpose is to drive away evil and bring good luck. Fingernail clippings and strands of hair are put in the little boats before release, along with little dolls fashioned from wood. Afterwards, the villagers perform their famous dance round their own boats, called the Ram Rong Ngeng.

Por Tor Festival This is an ancestor’s festival of the ethnic Chinese that falls on the seventh lunar month of the Chinese, which is the same as the ninth lunar month of the Thais, Special foods, flowers and candles are presented to the ancestor’s altars. Cakes in the shape of turtles are made from flour, some quite large. This is done because turtles live to great age and it is believed that bymaking such offering worshippers may extend the length of their lives. It is an important merit making festival.

Phuket Vegetarian Festival is held from the first through the ninth nights of the ninth Chinese lunar month; that is in September or October. It was first celebrated in 1825, when a troupe of actors enacted these rites to ward off a plague. Vegetarian food is eaten by participants and white clothes worn during the period of the festal. Selfmutilization is practiced by those whose bodies become the temporary residence of powerful gods. Parades of worshippers brave fireworks while carrying images through the streets; others walk on fire or climb bladed ladders. Participants number in the thousands. The whole forms one of the most bizarre festivals in Thailand.

Laguna Phuket Triathlon This annual yearend event sees the world’s top triathletes and hundreds of amateurs competing for prize money and placing on the world triathlon circuit. The course, which includes swimming, bicycling, and running through the beautiful natural surroundings of Laguna Phuket in Tambon Cherng Talay, takes from two-and-a-half to five hours to complete.

Tourist Season Opening Festival is usually called the Patong Carnival in English, from the place where celebrations occur, and is held starting 1 November. There are many stalls with merchandise and food, parades, sports events, and a beauty competition for foreign tourists. The festal is held to cement solidarity among the government, the private business sector, and Phuket people.

Phuket King’s Cup Regatta was first held in 1987 in honour of His Majesty’s 60th birthday. The King of Thailand is a noted boating enthusiast and yachts come from around the world to participate in the competition, which is the largest and most popular in Southeast Asia. It is held yearly on the anniversary of His Majesty’s birthday, 5 December. Site of the regatta is Nai Harn Bay, Kata Beach and etc.