11 July 2024

With no vegetarian festival for three years in Thailand, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, residents and businesses in Hat Yai, the commercial hub of the country’s southern border provinces, have been preparing for the launch of the festival tomorrow.

Chinese temples in the district have been storing up vegetarian food and have hired more people to prepare the food for pilgrims, mostly from among Thais of Chinese descent and Chinese visitors from Malaysia, who are expected to spend time in the temples to purify their souls, to wear white, to observe religious practices and to eat threevegetarian meals a day throughout the nine-day festival.

Anek Sae Tang, vice president of the Tao Bo Keng Foundation, said that there will not be a spiritual incarnation ceremony during the festival this year, but pilgrims will be able to pray and observe the Lord Buddha’s teachings.

President of the Hat Yai-Songkhla Hotels Association,Sitthipong Sitthipataraprapha, said that all the hotels in the district are now almost full of visitors from Malaysia. He is optimistic that tourist revenue and spending during the festival will amount to about one billion baht.

Jointly organised by both the public and private sectors, a festival will be held in the township, featuring more than 100 stalls and all kinds of vegetarian food.

At the Chue Chang Temple, a huge boat replica and a miniature model of the temple have been built. Both will be torched on the last day of the festival.