Get ready for the annual Vegetarian Festival in Bangkok! Also known by its official name, Tesagan Gin Je Festival, it will be held this year from October 8-17th. You’ll be able to taste some of the best vegetarian food dishes in Bangkok as well as get to experience lots of entertainment throughout the entire festival period.
The Vegetarian Festival originated in China. This Chinese festival was started as a religious festival to celebrate the Nine Emperor Gods. The date of the festival corresponds with the 9th Chinese lunar month every year. Devotees to the original holiday had to give up foods such as meat and poultry, fish, dairy, and other products to cleanse the body of food toxins. Now the vegetarian aspect of the festival reflects the food that was usually given up during the period. Other traditions included wearing white as a symbol of purity, although this tradition isn’t widely practiced now.
The Vegetarian Festival in Bangkok grew in popularity thanks to the number of people from Chinese descendant that live in the city. Many of the original religious traditions and meanings have progressed to being more entertaining and enjoyable for not only those from Chinese heritage but also tourists and anyone else interested in taking part.
It’s no surprise that the festival is centered around Bangkok’s Chinatown. You will discover a hub for the festivities happening on the Soi 20 strip along Charoen Krung Road. There will be an endless amount of vegetarian food options and entertainment happening throughout the entire duration of the festival. Anyone can easily reach this area via public transportation, being a short walk away from the MRT subway station. Also, taxis are very familiar with the Chinatown area and can drop you off right in the middle of the action of the festival.
Soi 20 is filled with food stalls and vendors selling a wide variety of delicious vegetarian and vegan food dishes. Some of the festival favorites include sweet cake and noodle soup. There are also a few strange and unique food traditions for the festival. Fake meat is one of the staples of the festival. Tofu is used to make sausages as well as the popularity of satay sticks that resemble real meat. Food during this festival is usually simplified, and strong smells from food such as garlic and onions are avoided. Shops and Restaurants also take part in the celebration, indicated by red and yellow flags hanging on the shop or festival stickers placed on shop windows.
Entertainment is also a significant part of the Vegetarian Festival. Every evening of the festival, you’ll have an opportunity to witness the Chinese Opera performing on a stage set up at the end of Soi 20. The performances are held daily from 18:00 to 19:00 so there are plenty of chances to catch the show.
Bangkok is one of the most popular places in Thailand that celebrates the festival because of the Chinese population in the city. You can also find a different type of celebration with slightly different traditions in Phuket, who also has a relatively large Chinese population. With events happening every day, you’ll have a chance to enjoy all of the highlights of the Vegetarian Festival.