Held each August in Phuket, the Por Tor Festival is a very unique event, allowing Phuket’s Chinese residents to celebrate the souls of their ancestors released from hell by the Goddess Gwan Yin. With roots deep in the fascinating culture of the Chinese people, which has always been shrouded in mystery and traditions, the festival is a one of a kind opportunity for locals to rejoice with special food, flowers and candles and for visitors to catch a glimpse of authenticity.
Feature Image, Wikipedia
Located on the west coast of Thailand, in the twinkling waters of the Andaman Sea, Phuket is beyond doubt the most popular, vibrant, diverse and beautiful island in South Asia, the perfect combination of tropical magic and natural splendor.
One of the few islands boasting a festival flavor all year round, Phuket prides itself with an impressive choice of events, from religious, cultural and sport fairs to some bizarre celebrations, gay parades and fun carnivals which make it a destination for every taste and a very cosmopolitan breakout.
Also known as the “Hungry Ghosts Festival”, Por Tor is held each year at the Por Tor Shrine in the district of Bang Neaw, during the seventh month of the Chinese calendar.
Por Tor Festival, Wikipedia
Legend has it that “Mahayana”, a Chinese monk looking for his parents’ souls, discovered his mother trapped in the hungry ghosts’ realm. In an attempt to save her, the monk rooted the idea that only money, food and prayers could help these lost souls to find eternal pace. Consequently, most Chinese communities still practice this kind of habits during the Por Tor Festival, when they believe that the hell’s gates open and the unfortunate souls are allowed to walk free among people.
Throughout the merry-making event, special food, flowers, candles and even burned banknotes are brought by Chinese families to their ancestors’ altars to please them. As a symbol of longevity and an icon of the festival itself, turtles are always present during this time of year, although in a colorful sweet shape of a cake, called Ang Ku. Other popular offerings include: steamed pork, duck, chicken and yellow noodles, all of them denoting prosperity and fullness.
Patong Beach – Phuket, Wikipedia
Although, over the time, Thai people have developed a very strong scale of values, their own beliefs and deep-rooted customs, the island is very well-known for its ethnic and religious diversity. One of the most notable communities in Phuket is represented by the large number of Chinese population. Alongside the great amount of Chinese temples and shrines here, the Hungry Ghost Festival is one of the evidences that the island has received very well another nation’s beliefs and traditions, developing into a wonderful cultural destination.
For all the curious and adventure-craving travellers, Por Tor Festival is a great opportunity to enjoy a quirky experience and to be spoilt with the island’s rich cultural heritage. Likewise, Phuket, called by many the “ideal destination”, will always welcome you with its beautiful, almost surreal scenery, never-ending beaches, blue clear waters, wonderful temples, charming old towns, a sensual exotic flair and an extraordinary range of activities, at least one for each one of you, tourists out there.