Cheek-piercing Thai Taoist festival returns

STORY: Worshippers from the local Chinese community have their faces pierced or walked over hot coals at local shrines in the name of purification.

They also believe that going without meat, sex, and alcohol in the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar also helps achieve good health and peace of mind.

In Phuket's downtown on Friday (September 30) hundreds of devotees and worshippers marched in a procession in respect to Chinese gods.

Some with their faces pierced with sharp objects say the meaning of the piercing is a symbol of the sinful things they might have said during the off-vegetarian season.

The 9-day Taoist celebration, also known as the Nine Emperor Gods Festival, is observed during September 25 to October 4 this year.