No, this is not about Cannes or Hollywood. The red carpet we’re talking about is the carpet of red firecrackers left covering the streets of Phuket town during the famed Vegetarian Festival processions.

If you come to Phuket thinking that the sea, sand and sun are the only things there is to experience then you can think again. As apart from the attractions of a beautiful tropical island Phuket also offers many interesting traditions and festivals resulting from the diverse culture.

Amongst one of the most popular festival amongst excitement-seeking tourists is the Vegetarian Festival, a festival of Toaist Chinese origin now found only in Phuket and several bordering provinces.

The Vegetarian Festival was said to have started in Phuket when an illness spread across a village formed during the tin mining years called ‘Baan Nai Tu’ (now Krathu). At the time there was a group of Pekking Opera performers from China residing in the area, so when the members caught the illness they carried out ‘jia chai’ (Chinese) or the Vegetarian Festival in order to honour the gods ‘Kiew Ong Tai The’ and ‘Yok Ong Sone The’ and drive away the bad fortune. By retaining from the consumption of all animal products and eating only freshly cooked food under the rituals the illness subsided. The Vegetarian Festival is then adopted by the locals across Phuket and nearby areas and carried out yearly on the ninth lunar month in accordance to the traditional Chinese calendar.