Bangkok’s Chinatown celebrates vegetarian festival in style

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BANGKOK, Oct 16 – For a devout Chinese Buddhist vegetarian, the 10-day vegetarian festival is more than abstaining from eating meat of all creatures and vegetables with a pungent smell.

Wearing white outfits and praying to the Nine Emperor Gods at a Chinese Buddhist shrine are important rituals strictly observed by devout Buddhists. After all, the centuries-old tradition is also known as the Nine Emperor Gods Festival.

At Bangkok’s Chinatown, Yaowaraj Road, all Chinese shrines are open for 10 consecutive days to enable devotees to pray to the Nine Emperor Gods.

Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra officially opened the Yaowaraj Vegetarian Festival with a fanfare on Monday by cooking the “Nine Dragon Emperors”—a special vegetarian dish for the occasion.

Vegetarian food stalls line both sides of Yaowaraj Road while the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration has made the heavily-congested Chinatown easily accessible by providing tram shuttles from Hualampong MRT station to Ratchawong pier from Monday Oct 15 through Tuesday Oct 23 during which traffic on Yaowaraj Road is closed from 2pm to 9pm.