What do you get when you mix vegetarian food, banging drums, crashing symbols, dancing dragons and firecrackers? …the Vegetarian Festival in Bangkok’s Chinatown!
The Vegetarian Festival in Chinatown Bangkok is one of many vegetarian celebrations that takes place throughout Thailand and Southeast Asia. Known as Tesagan Gin Je (เทศกาลกินเจ – translated to Vegetarian Festival), this 9-day celebration is held every year beginning on the evening of the of 9th lunar month of the Chinese calendar (this year was September 28 to October 7).
Originally its origins were tied to the Chinese Tao “Nine Emperor Gods Festival”. But due to a large ethnic Chinese and Thai/Chinese population in Thailand (largest minority group in Thailand), many of the original Chinese holiday traditions and celebrations from the past have integrated with Thai Buddhism to create its own unique blend of current day Thai/Chinese traditions.
Today, a lot of Thai and Thai Chinese celebrate this country wide event by only eating “Je” (vegetarian) food for the purposes of spiritual cleansing and merit-making. Not all participate in this event but some that do may be stricter than others (such as wearing all white clothing and sustaining from consuming meat, including seafood and dairy products, etc.).
When ever you see these symbols (Thai & Chinese), you know that the food item is vegetarian.
Gallery – Bangkok Chinatown Vegetarian Festival 2019
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