Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Chosen Ones: The Mah Song (ม้าทรง) of the Phuket Vegetarian Festival


The Mah Song ม้าทรง

Nine Emperor Gods Festival / 九皇爺 / เทศกาลกินเจ

During the 9th lunar month of the Chinese calendar amid a chorus of firecrackers and drum beats devotees of various shrines around Phuket island perform religious ceremonies meant to protect themselves and their communities from evil.

 Known as the 9 Emperor Gods Festival Jiu Huang Ye (九皇爷) throughout the region and Tesagan Gin Je เทศกาลกินเจ in Thailand.
Dueling Umbrellas Pierced Through the Face
The Mah Song are those disciples who have been chosen by the gods to become spirit mediums of the festival. Mah ม้า is the word for horse in Thai, and the name Mah Song refers to how the spirits of the gods use the bodies of these people as a vehicle, as one rides a horse. They perform amazing acts of mutilation, self torture and flagellation.

Running the saw blade repeatedly over the tongue

Sword pierced through one cheek

A very imposing character with multiple needles pierced through his face and neck.
Two real pistols pierced through this Mah Song's face

An important member of the community is pierced at the front gate of Bang Neow Shrine

Devotee of Bang Neow Shrine with over 10 needles in his face

Duel ceremonial masks pierced through this man's cheeks


Not a bad choice of items considering the heat, sun and run during the island this time of year

Large wrench

Female Mah Song with some plants pierced through her face

Mah Song with a pole laced with purple & white orchids

These types of needles seem to be quite popular due to the fact that there is not a lot of blood and or scarring like some of the other objects chosen.

A pair of toy guns 

Spirit medium lost in himself

These devotees can walk up to 20km to and from Phuket town from the shrine they frequent

Hunting rile through the face of a friend. 

Teamwork 

Overachiever

I saw that these needles were kept at the shrine and used from year to year

When you are not interested in quality then go quantity... 

Double swords through the face


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