“Jia Chai” – The Festival that Goes Beyond Culture


In an era where creativity is no different from an engine of economic growth, an existing ancient culture not only survived but was beautifully portrayed. Therefore, adaptation has been significantly dependent upon as happened with the Phuket Vegetarian festival, also locally known as “Jia Chai”.

It is said that for festivals to stand a chance to grow globally, they need a combination of four factors: culture, creativity, lifestyle and entertainment.

The cooperation of the public and private sector, especially with local participation, becomes an important tool in shaping the economy along with the sustainable quality development of the city.  Under Festival Economy policy, it seems like we are on the right track.

Mr. Kittiwong Chansatthum, President of Phuket Shrine Association

“Every shrines will carry on with Vegetarian Festival uninterruptedly to maintain the essence of the ritual” said Mr. Kittiwong Chansatthum, President of Phuket Shrine Association.

In the past, Mr.Kittiwong said that there were only a few participants in the ceremony. However, the increasing number of Phuket locals who have been growing attached to shrines since young ages has made the vegetarian festival even more popular. Tourism promotion and marketing have also played a part.

As such, even certain rituals that could cause harm during the pandemic will be strictly refrained, some rituals will be carried on internally. Nevertheless, this is also a time for everyone to be reminded of the origins of Jui Tui Shrine’s vegetarian festival where it began from the belief that abstinence from meat and various stimulants will help them defeat illness and epidemic.

"Jia Chai" - The Festival that Goes Beyond Culture 1

Tourism Authority Of Thailand, Phuket office

Even though this year there will be no highlight activities such as street processions, but Tourism authorities would still do their best in promoting and providing information on the activities of each shrine. If tourists have questions, please feel free to ask.

The Phuket Tourism Authority of Thailand has already confirmed that this year’s Phuket Vegetarian Festival continues to move forward, although many activities with mass gatherings may have to be prohibited, such as street processions or fire walking ceremonies.

In normal times, tourists from all over the world would flock to Phuket to join the ceremony and watch the spectacular parade. But this year, there are restrictions on pandemic control measures. The important mission of TAT, therefore, is to provide information along with answering questions to the public so that everyone can still join in worshiping Chinese deities, visit the communities around Shrines, along with being dazzled with festive decorations in town safely as before.

This could be a key moment reflecting the faith and mutual support of one and all. It is not necessary that you are of Phuket or Chinese descent since the tradition of Vegetarian Festival provides a space for all Thais and foreigners to join in the rituals and carry on this unique culture which is going to take place on October 6-14, 2021. Together, let’s celebrate Phuket’s holy week of fasting and eating vegan.

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