‘Magical’ vegetarian festivals get under way in East

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“Magic rice” sizzled in the pan for thousands as the Pattaya Vegetarian Festival began its run through Oct. 10.

Lions and dragons took over the Eastern Seaboard as the annual Vegetarian Festival began in Pattaya and Sattahip. The streets were filled with parades on opening day, when thousands of residents promised to eat only vegetables ... at least until Oct. 10.
Lions and dragons took over the Eastern Seaboard as the annual Vegetarian Festival began in Pattaya and Sattahip. The streets were filled with parades on opening day, when thousands of residents promised to eat only vegetables … at least until Oct. 10.

Former Culture Minister Sonthaya Kunplome, city, provincial and tourism officials, former MPs and executives from the Sawang Boriboon Thammasathan Foundation celebrated the opening of the festival with a twin-headed parade and vegan meal Sept. 30.

The vegetarian festival dragon parade sweeps through Sattahip.
The vegetarian festival dragon parade sweeps through Sattahip.

The annual procession consisting of “Kiew Huang Huk Jow” (the nine deities who are the spiritual mascots of the festival) and “Bhodisttava” (also known as Chow Mae Kuan Im, the goddess of mercy, compassion & healing) kicked off at Bali Hai Pier and ran up Walking Street.

The parade group then split, with half following Beach Road to Central Road and turning right. The second branch traveled along Second Road, stopping for a dragon show, then met the first group at Central Road. Reunited, the groups moved to Third Road and then jumped on buses to go to the Sawang Boriboon headquarters.

By then, the marchers were hungry and chefs were preparing the “magic rice” meal.

Acting Mayor Chanapong Sriviset said Pattaya’s vegetarian festival is held yearly and has attracted more fans each year.

Local dignitaries stir up this year’s “magic rice” dish for the masses.
Local dignitaries stir up this year’s “magic rice” dish for the masses.

Sattahip’s equivalent vegetarian festival also got under way Sept. 30 with Mayor Narong Bunbancherdsri, who also heads the Sawang Rojthammasathan Foundation, presiding over the festivities.

The streets were filled with local residents as well as foreign tourists as the large parade made its way through the Sattahip Market community.

Many local leaders marched in the annual parade.
Many local leaders marched in the annual parade.
Students wear white and keep tradition in the Sattahip parade.
Students wear white and keep tradition in the Sattahip parade.
The Eng Kor troupe from the north is an annual highlight of the festival here.
The Eng Kor troupe from the north is an annual highlight of the festival here.
The ladies in Sattahip look resplendent in their white outfits.
The ladies in Sattahip look resplendent in their white outfits.
The Pattaya parade started at Bali Hai Pier and finished at the Sawang Boriboon headquarters in Naklua.
The Pattaya parade started at Bali Hai Pier and finished at the Sawang Boriboon headquarters in Naklua.
The Sawang Boriboon headquarters is bathed in white as followers arrive en masse to celebrate the beginning of this year’s Vegetarian Festival.
The Sawang Boriboon headquarters is bathed in white as followers arrive en masse to celebrate the beginning of this year’s Vegetarian Festival.

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