The Nine Emperor Gods
The Nine Emperor God festival takes place on the Thai island of Phuket.
It lasts for 9 days and celebrates the beginning of "Taoist Lent" when
devoted Chinese abstain from eating all meat and meat products.
Both men and women take part in this festival that was brought to
Phuket by Chinese workers in the beginning of the 19th century.
The festival involves various processions, temple offerings and cultural
performances and culminates with walking on hot coal and self-piercing
the skin. The most prominent portion features processions of worshipers
parading trough Phukettown with their tongues, cheeks, and other parts
of the anatomy pierced with sharp implements to the ear-splitting
sound of cymbals, drums and fire crackers.