Dragons danced through the streets and 5,000 people dined on “Fried Rice in 85 Prosperous Pans” as the annual Pattaya Vegetarian Festival stirred up Thai-Chinese citizens and tourists alike. 85 is a significant number this year, as it represents His Majesty the King’s 85th birthday coming up in December this year.
Culture Minister Sukumol Kunplome, MP Santsak Ngampichet, Chonburi Gov. Khomsan Ekachai, Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome and city council members headed the line of 5,000 people queuing up at the Sawang Boriboon Thammasathan Foundation headquarters for a helping of the “Khao Phat Thip 85 Pans,” the cooking of which was overseen by Surasak Pankluab, president of Pattaya Eastern Seaboard Chefs Association.
‘Pae Yim’, aka ‘Sim Hua Roa’ or the Laughing Aunty, poses with her lion during the festivities.
More than 16 ingredients comprised the meal, including mushrooms, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, peas, cranberries and gingko nuts, along with 1,500 peaches. Consuming the fried rice is believed to bring prosperity.
Before they could eat, however, they had to march. The annual dual-headed 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 12:29 p.m. Oct 14, 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 Thammasathan headquarters.
“I encourage tourists to join in the vegetarian festival to make merit for themselves, prosper and to cleanse one’s mind by consuming only vegetables and fruits following the belief to keep our body pour by not consuming meat,” Sukumol said.
While Pattaya’s Vegetarian Festival was the largest in the area, it wasn’t the only one.
In Sattahip, former mayor and now head of the Sawang Boriboon Thammasathan Foundation, opened that area’s own vegetarian festival, leading a Chinese deities parade through the city to kick off that area’s festival.
The Festival continues until Oct. 24.
Culture Minister Sukumol Kunplome gives her opening speech at the Satisfied Hearts and Minds Vegetarian Festival at the Sawang Boriboon Thammasathan Foundation in Naklua.
Culture Minister Sukumol Kunplome distributes heavenly peaches to youngsters and others during the festival at the Sawang Boriboon Thammasathan Foundation in Naklua.
White clad marchers sound the gong to alert people in the area that the parade is marching through.
A pair of dragons weave their way down Beach Road.
Honored men bring ancient symbols to the people to pay respect.
Marchers dress in white to signify purity and cleansing of their bodies and souls.
Prasit Thongthitcharoen (left), vice president of the Sawang Boriboon Thammasathan Foundation, and Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome sound their gongs whilst leading the lions and dragon parade through New Naklua market.
Eng-Kor-Pabu marchers uphold justice and fight against corruption in the opening day parade down Beach Road.
Eng-Kor-Pabu troops from the Look Praya group out of Nakorn Sawan perform in Naklua.
A man on his horse “rides” down Beach Road during the opening day parade.
Eng-Kor-Pabu heroes prepare to take from the rich to give to the poor.
Eng-Kor-Pabu troops from the Look Praya group out of Nakorn Sawan perform their ancient ritual of fighting against corruption.
The festival in Naklua features food – lots of vegetarian food!
People along the parade route in Naklua receive blessings.
Sattahip citizens take part in the religious ceremonies during the opening festivities.
Hundreds of people take part in the religious ceremonies at Lan Po Public Park.
Visit Chaowalitnitithum, president of the Sawang Boriboon Thammasathan Foundation, and Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome perform the invitation ceremonies for the deities at Lan Po Public Park.
Culture Minister Sukumol Kunplome (left) and Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome (right) stir up their versions of the “Fried Rice in 85 Prosperous Pans”.
The parade and festivities were no less festive at the Sattahip Vegetarian Festival.
The dragon reaches new heights whilst parading through Naklua.
People scramble to feed the dragon and make merit.