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Archive 2012 · Kin Jay Festival **WARNING - BLOODY, GRAPHIC CONTENT**
  
 
igadiz
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Kin Jay Festival **WARNING - BLOODY, GRAPHIC CONTENT**


During my recent holiday to Thailand I was lucky to be there whilst the Nine Emperor Gods Festival was in full flight. and with Thailand’s celebrations of this chinese religious event being particularly spectacular. Boy was I in for a treat!



Celebrated by Phuket’s and Krabi Chinese community, the event marks the beginning of the month of ‘Taoist Lent’, when devout followers of the Tao abstain from eating all meat and animal products. Participating street vendors and restaurants display bright yellow banners .



The festival begins with processions, religious offerings and cultural performances, centred on five Chinese temples. The most significant location is Jui Tui temple, the modern annex of Put Jaw, the oldest Chinese temple in Phuket Town.




The religious fervour culminates with incredible acts of self-mortification – walking on hot coals, climbing knife-blade ladders, piercing the skin with sharp objects.




Devotees participating as mediums bring the nine Taoist emperor gods to earth by entering into a trance state and piercing their cheeks with all manner of objects: sharpened tree branches, spears, slide trombones, daggers.





Some even hack their tongues continuously with a saw or axe blade.





Shopkeepers on central streets set up altars in front of their stores, offering incense, fruit, candles, flowers and nine tiny cups of tea to the deities invoked throughout the festival.




During the street processions, mediums stop at the altars and pick up the fruit, which they add to the objects piercing their cheeks or pass on to bystanders as a blessing.




The mediums also drink one of the nine cups of tea and grab some flowers to stick in their waistbands. The shopkeepers and their families look on with their heads lowered and hands together in a prayerlike wâi gesture, out of respect for the mediums and the deities possessing their pierced bodies.



The deafening firecrackers, ritual dancing and bloodied shirts create an atmosphere of religious frenzy. Strangely, there is no record of this kind of activity associated with Taoist Lent in China.



Some historians have concluded that Phuket’s and Krabi's Chinese community was influenced by the Thaipusam festival celebrated in nearby Malaysia. The Hindu festival features similar acts of self-mortification.



The folk clutching the saws and axe blades, however, have another explanation. They say the festival was started by a Chinese theatre troupe that stopped off in Kathu, northwest of Phuket Town, around 150 years ago.




According to legend, the troupe fell ill because its members had failed to propitiate the nine emperor gods. The nine-day penance they performed included self-piercing, meditation and a strict vegetarian diet.





Edited on Oct 26, 2012 at 01:59 PM · View previous versions



Oct 26, 2012 at 09:22 AM
penpro
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Kin Jay Festival **WARNING - BLOODY, GRAPHIC CONTENT**


Wow!, that is just incredible. Nice shots.


Oct 26, 2012 at 01:42 PM
igadiz
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Kin Jay Festival **WARNING - BLOODY, GRAPHIC CONTENT**


Thank you for the taking the time to comment. (400+ views one comment... not bad going I guess)

I know they are graphic in nature and some may be shocked or too sickened to comment but, I can only take images of what's going on around me.

This kind of self mutilation during the Kin Jay is restricted to Thailand (more specifically to Phuket and Krabi) and is not found anywhere else in the world.

It was with a lot of distress that I took these images as, some of the "mediums", were very young indeed.
They claim not feel any pain but, common, we all have had a paper cut on our tongues at some point or another and know that it hurts like hell.

That young boy can't be more than 15-16 years old and his tongue has been hacked to the point I can no longer see any taste buds on it The sobering thought was he still had 4 more days of "hacking" to go through!
The still images can't convey the sheer horror of the scenes I witnessed. The constant drumming and firecracker explosions together with the loud frenzied chanting performed before every cut was, at times, incredibly intoxicating.

Still, my constant thought was: how can they allow these young people to do this to themselves?
They are not yet mature enough to understand the nature of what it is they are doing and, this self sacrifice should, by all means, be restricted to adult only.

I'm looking forwards to hear your thoughts on the matter.



Oct 26, 2012 at 08:01 PM
N.Cost
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Kin Jay Festival **WARNING - BLOODY, GRAPHIC CONTENT**


This had to be a sight to see. You'r fortunate to have been there during this event, as it won't be soon forgotten by you.

Thanks for sharing, I found it very interesting.



Oct 26, 2012 at 09:12 PM
david1234
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Kin Jay Festival **WARNING - BLOODY, GRAPHIC CONTENT**


wowwwww the tongue cutting is still making me cringe, dont know how you could take those without passing out


Oct 27, 2012 at 12:07 AM
no_surrender
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Kin Jay Festival **WARNING - BLOODY, GRAPHIC CONTENT**


Wow! Now THAT'S a festival!! Thanks for sharing

Kevin



Oct 27, 2012 at 02:23 AM
Bruce n Philly
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Kin Jay Festival **WARNING - BLOODY, GRAPHIC CONTENT**


Great shots!

And I complain about the tag on the back of my shirt......


Bruce
www.TravelThroughPictures.com



Oct 27, 2012 at 02:41 AM
igadiz
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Kin Jay Festival **WARNING - BLOODY, GRAPHIC CONTENT**


Thank you for taking the time to comment.

A bit more info for those who maybe considering attending next year

The seven stars making up our Big Dipper constellation plus two unseen stars are considered to be the nine emperor gods being celebrated.

Known as the Kin Jay, Nine Emperor Gods or the Phuket vegetarian Festival, the celebrations run for nine days. It is by far the most extreme and bizarre festival I have ever witnessed (and I have seen the famous Easter flagellation processions in Spain). Celebrated primarily by the Chinese community in Thailand and around Southeast Asia, devotees are expected to wear white and keep pure thoughts; they give up meat, sex, alcohol, stimulants, and strong foods such as garlic.

The chosen Mah-Song -- always unmarried men and women -- ask the gods to enter their bodies. They wear elaborate costumes and pierce their bodies in an entranced estate. This practice is strictly confined to Thailand (more specifically to Phuket and Krabi area)

People in mourning and pregnant or menstruating women are not supposed to attend the ceremonies.

The Festival begins on the first day in the ninth month of the Chinese lunar calendar, so dates change annually. Typically the festival is held in Autumn, near the end of September and beginning of October. This is no sombre temple experience! The Festival is lively, chaotic, and loud.

Tourists are invited to attend the procession and take photographs. But, be aware... Although the Festival seems like a bizarre carnival, it is a deeply religious event; show respect and stay out of the way!

Most tourists simply attend to see the extreme piercings but, excellent vegetarian food can be enjoyed by all. Participating restaurants and food stalls fly a yellow flag with red Chinese lettering.

The vegetarian food found at the festival looks identical to meat products such as pork and chicken, however, it is vegan -- even eggs and dairy products are not used during the festival. Special care is taken to give food the same texture and appearances of the meats they mimic.

All in a once in a lifetime unforgettable experience.



Oct 27, 2012 at 08:09 AM
tyasa81
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Kin Jay Festival **WARNING - BLOODY, GRAPHIC CONTENT**


great images, but i think the one cutting and hacking of the tongue might have traumatized me for a while...


Oct 27, 2012 at 09:16 AM
 



Dudewithoutape
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Kin Jay Festival **WARNING - BLOODY, GRAPHIC CONTENT**


Thank you for sharing. I learned something new today. It's hard to critique the photos effectively since I am not familiar with the processions or there to witness first hand, but it looks like you did a great job capturing the scene and documenting the event. Very clear, sharp pictures, and zoomed in to show all the gory details.


Oct 27, 2012 at 09:51 AM
anthonysemone
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Kin Jay Festival **WARNING - BLOODY, GRAPHIC CONTENT**


Well, I'd say you got some of the best shots I've seen of folks doing their level best at "stupid is as stupid does."


Oct 27, 2012 at 11:08 PM
rattymouse
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Kin Jay Festival **WARNING - BLOODY, GRAPHIC CONTENT**


anthonysemone wrote:
Well, I'd say you got some of the best shots I've seen of folks doing their level best at "stupid is as stupid does."


.....well said. This photo series illustrates the power of religion to reduce humans to beyond stupidity.




Oct 27, 2012 at 11:26 PM
Velu01
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Kin Jay Festival **WARNING - BLOODY, GRAPHIC CONTENT**


A dream subject for a photographer. Thanks for sharing.
I like the "eyes in trance"

Rgds
Velu



Oct 28, 2012 at 03:22 PM
Markcs12
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Kin Jay Festival **WARNING - BLOODY, GRAPHIC CONTENT**


Great shots!

I wonder how they feel about it when it is all over and they are trying to go to sleep at night or eat the next few days, but they can't because their tongues and faces are all gouged up.

They say it doesn't hurt in the moment, but then they have to live with it for the next few days or weeks or the rest of their lives, depending on how bad they mutilated themselves. I wonder how many of them (since the beginning of this festival), a few days later when the euphoria of the event is over and they get back to their normal lives have thought, "What the hell did I do that for?"

Maybe none. But you'd think at least one of them at some point would have warned others, "Don't do it, you'll regret it later."



Oct 28, 2012 at 05:14 PM
igadiz
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Kin Jay Festival **WARNING - BLOODY, GRAPHIC CONTENT**


Markcs12 wrote:
Great shots!

I wonder how they feel about it when it is all over and they are trying to go to sleep at night or eat the next few days, but they can't because their tongues and faces are all gouged up.

They say it doesn't hurt in the moment, but then they have to live with it for the next few days or weeks or the rest of their lives, depending on how bad they mutilated themselves. I wonder how many of them (since the beginning of this festival), a few days later when the euphoria of the event is over
...Show more
Thank you all for the kind comments.
You would think they regret it but, I saw the same kids cutting their tongue over a period of 2 days. (could not stomach any more).
My suspicion is, they have got to be on something pretty strong! Peyote or some like potion



Oct 29, 2012 at 05:16 PM
BigPurpleOne
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Kin Jay Festival **WARNING - BLOODY, GRAPHIC CONTENT**


Oh yes you got the graphic part correct but had to look at them all, so well captured.


Oct 31, 2012 at 07:14 AM
John Caldwell
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Kin Jay Festival **WARNING - BLOODY, GRAPHIC CONTENT**


Thank you for the fine images and for teaching me of this set of rituals. After a little reading on the Wiki page, I see that the festival face piercing takes quite a range of art forms, with some being fairly contemporary. Here's a shot of a man who's piercing includes no less than a remote-controlled model helicopter, by photographer Krill Kay, towards the bottom of the Wiki page:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nine_Emperor_Gods_Festival

Edited on Oct 31, 2012 at 02:15 PM · View previous versions



Oct 31, 2012 at 02:09 PM
John Caldwell
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Kin Jay Festival **WARNING - BLOODY, GRAPHIC CONTENT**


Unintended post


Oct 31, 2012 at 02:14 PM





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