Bangkok Vegetarian Festival, locally known as Tesagan Gin Jay is one of the most colorful and delicious festivals that comes to mind when we talk about upcoming festivals in Bangkok. It is also known as Nine Emperor Gods Festival and is celebrated during the ninth lunar month of Chinese Calendar. It normally falls in October every year, but dates may vary. This year the Bangkok Vegetarian Festival Celebration starts on 8th October and lasts up to 17th October.
The major celebrations are held in Bangkok and Phuket but there are also some other places that do the celebration like Chiang Mai, Trang, Krabi, and Chonburi etc.
People all over Thailand are seen practicing Jay that mean vegetarian in the English language. People eat vegetarian food during the festival days and wear plain white cloths. The purpose of this practice is to cleanse the soul. You will even find yellow triangular posters on walls and on the windows of the shops with word Jay written in bright red color. Aside from eating vegetarian food and avoiding meat Thai people also refrain from drinking alcohol, gambling, and all the other physical and psychological immoralities. They actively consider their action and thoughts and also perform religious activities such as going to temples. Mangkon Kamalawat Temple and the Chow Sue Kong Shrine are filled with people on these particular days. Moreover, the temples are decorated with candles. Lanterns and burning incense.
Gin Jay typically means “Eat Vegetarian Food” and Thai people follow this rule strictly throughout the Festival Days. Every type of meat disappears from food either it is chicken, fish or other kinds of seafood and all of these are replaced with meat substitutes or other foods which can be cooked without any meat or even meat products some people even refrain from food that have strong smells like onion and garlic.
Restaurants and Vendors also refrain from selling any meat product instead they do a temporary business of bite-sized veggie dumplings, bowls of steaming noodles, and sweet desserts swimming in coconut milk etc. there are also deep fried spring rolls and gyoza. Meat is substituted with mushrooms, tofu or taro which is a type of prudish root vegetable. It is the perfect time to enjoy some vegetarian delicacies which you may find hard to eat during other times of the year in Bangkok.
Other than various kinds of vegetarian foods you have never seen or heard about there are other parts of festivities that include Parade, Drums, and Fireworks. During the parade you can see different dancers performing traditional dance wearing traditional Chinese long robes, the parade also includes a long dragon exhibition and also drums are played throughout the parade with loud fireworks.
Most of the festivities and food stalls are found in Chinatown, Bangkok close to the Grand Palace. The parade revolves around Yaowarat Road between the Odeon Circle and the Chalerm Buri intersection. The road is closed during the festival day and around 4 PM the vendors start appearing close to the Chinese opera happening in the Chow Sue Kong Shrine. You can find some tasty vegetarian food stalls all around the Chinatown streets.