Every year Thailand celebrates a nine day long vegetarian food festival. When I tell a Thai person that I am a vegetarian, the usual reaction is something like: ‘Very good, that’s great for your health, I admire that, but I could never do it”.
But during those nine days of the vegetarian festival many Thais actually switch to a non-meat diet. They consider it quite a sacrifice which is quite amusing for those of us who have been vegetarians for many years or even decades.
Thais are very proud of their cuisine, and eating is one their favorite pastimes. Thais don’t just eat 3 times a day, but have several small meals throughout the day.
A very typical question which you are frequently asked as a foreigner in Thailand is if you like Thai food. The follow-up question is often if you can eat spicy food (a lot of Thai food is very spicy).
If you answer ‘yes’ to both questions, then you ‘passed the test’ and will get an appreciative smile as a reward.
There is another aspect to this event. In some areas of Thailand members of the Chinese community practice quite weird and gruesome body piercing rituals while they are in a trance state.
This allows them to perform severe mutilations on their body without feeling the pain and without suffering any physical consequences. I wrote an article which shows pictures about those trance piercings.
There are quite a few videos on youtube that show the piercings in action, but I have to warn you – this is not for the faint hearted!
One year I made a video which shows the food festival in action in Chiang Mai. No piercings here, nothing to ruin your appetite. Just the opposite, you will wish you were there and could taste some of the great food.
The author, Shama Kern, has been living in Thailand for two decades. When he is not traveling and exploring, he lives with his Thai wife in Chiang Mai. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org