Por Tor Festival – Phuket’s Festival for the Dead

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Phuket is known for its heavenly beaches and is a much loved tourist destination. However, few people realise that Phuket is actually a highly spiritual place. Although not very big in size, the Thai island is home to a fair number of temples and there is always some type of function going on. Travellers who are interested in learning more about foreign customs and cultures can do so by participating in the local celebrations. There are several interesting options depending on the time of the year. Those visiting between August and September may get a chance to take part in the Por Tor Festival.

The Por Tor Festival, more popularly known as the ‘Hungry Ghost Festival’, is a Chinese festival that falls on the seventh month of the Chinese lunar calendar. It is believed that at midnight on the last day of the sixth month, the gateway to the spirit world is opened and the spirits are allowed to freely roam the world. The spirits will usually return to visit their families and relatives. Most people spend their days in prayer to appease their ancestors. They also give offerings of flowers, incense and food. The food offerings are meant to appease the ghosts, as it is believed that a hungry ghost is an angry ghost.

Night time trips are avoided for the duration of the month, although some activities do take place. Tourists will be able to observe and take part in a number of interesting activities. Keep an eye out for the ‘red turtles’. These are actually cakes and can be seen at shrines. Sometimes the turtles bear messages or names on their back. It can be fun to buy one from a bakery and leave it at a shrine.

One can enjoy the Por Tor Festival at a Patong beach resort like the Millennium Resort Patong Phuket. The Phuket resort is situated in the centre of Patong and is a terrific place to stay. Providing guests with easy access to the beaches, nightclubs, restaurants and bars of Patong, it is the ideal base from which to explore the surrounding area.

Thanuja Silva is a travel writer who writes under the pen name Auburn Silver. She has a passion for fashion and a deep interest in admiring new and exotic attractions around the world.


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