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Extreme vegetarian festival

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A devotee of Ban Tha Rua Chinese shrine, with a gun pierced through his cheek, takes a part in a procession celebrating the annual vegetarian festival in Phuket October 19, 2012. The festival, featuring face-piercing, spirit mediums, and strict vegetarianism, celebrates the local Chinese community's belief that abstinence from meat and various stimulants during the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar will help them obtain...more

A devotee of Ban Tha Rua Chinese shrine, with a gun pierced through his cheek, takes a part in a procession celebrating the annual vegetarian festival in Phuket October 19, 2012. The festival, featuring face-piercing, spirit mediums, and strict vegetarianism, celebrates the local Chinese community's belief that abstinence from meat and various stimulants during the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar will help them obtain good health and peace of mind. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

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A devotee of the Chinese Kathu shrine with his face pierced takes part in a procession during the annual vegetarian festival in central Phuket October 22, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

A devotee of the Chinese Kathu shrine with his face pierced takes part in a procession during the annual vegetarian festival in central Phuket October 22, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

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Devotees of the Chinese Bang Neow Shrine take a part in a street procession during the annual vegetarian festival in Phuket October 20, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

Devotees of the Chinese Bang Neow Shrine take a part in a street procession during the annual vegetarian festival in Phuket October 20, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

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Devotees of the Chinese Bang Neow Shrine with parts of car wheels pierced through their cheeks take a part in procession during the annual vegetarian festival in Phuket October 20, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

Devotees of the Chinese Bang Neow Shrine with parts of car wheels pierced through their cheeks take a part in procession during the annual vegetarian festival in Phuket October 20, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

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A devotee of the Chinese Bang Neow Shrine is helped to pierce two toy guns through his cheeks, during the annual vegetarian festival in Phuket October 20, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

A devotee of the Chinese Bang Neow Shrine is helped to pierce two toy guns through his cheeks, during the annual vegetarian festival in Phuket October 20, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

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Devotees of the Chinese Bang Neow Shrine carry a statue and an another devotee through exploding firecrackers during the annual vegetarian festival procession through central Phuket October 20, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

Devotees of the Chinese Bang Neow Shrine carry a statue and an another devotee through exploding firecrackers during the annual vegetarian festival procession through central Phuket October 20, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

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Devotees of the Chinese Kathu shrine carry a statue through exploding firecrackers during a street procession at the annual vegetarian festival in central Phuket October 22, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

Devotees of the Chinese Kathu shrine carry a statue through exploding firecrackers during a street procession at the annual vegetarian festival in central Phuket October 22, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

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A devotee of the Chinese Bang Neow Shrine takes a part in procession during the annual vegetarian festival through central Phuket October 20, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

A devotee of the Chinese Bang Neow Shrine takes a part in procession during the annual vegetarian festival through central Phuket October 20, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

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The lips of a devotee of the Chinese Kathu shrine are pierced before a procession at the annual vegetarian festival in central Phuket October 22, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

The lips of a devotee of the Chinese Kathu shrine are pierced before a procession at the annual vegetarian festival in central Phuket October 22, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

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A devotee of the Chinese Bang Neow Shrine is helped with piercing before a street procession during the annual vegetarian festival in Phuket October 20, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

A devotee of the Chinese Bang Neow Shrine is helped with piercing before a street procession during the annual vegetarian festival in Phuket October 20, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

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A devotee of Ban Tha Rua Chinese shrine with her cheeks pierced takes part in a procession celebrating the annual vegetarian festival in Phuket October 19, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

A devotee of Ban Tha Rua Chinese shrine with her cheeks pierced takes part in a procession celebrating the annual vegetarian festival in Phuket October 19, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

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A devotee of Ban Tha Rua Chinese shrine holds a line of exploding firecrackers during a procession celebrating the annual vegetarian festival in Phuket October 19, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

A devotee of Ban Tha Rua Chinese shrine holds a line of exploding firecrackers during a procession celebrating the annual vegetarian festival in Phuket October 19, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

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Devotees of Ban Tha Rua Chinese shrine walk through exploding firecrackers during a procession celebrating the annual vegetarian festival in Phuket October 19, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

Devotees of Ban Tha Rua Chinese shrine walk through exploding firecrackers during a procession celebrating the annual vegetarian festival in Phuket October 19, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

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Devotees of Ban Tha Rua Chinese shrine turn away from exploding firecrackers during a procession celebrating the annual vegetarian festival in Phuket October 19, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

Devotees of Ban Tha Rua Chinese shrine turn away from exploding firecrackers during a procession celebrating the annual vegetarian festival in Phuket October 19, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

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A devotee of Ban Tha Rua Chinese shrine with his cheeks pierced sits in trance before a procession celebrating the annual vegetarian festival in Phuket October 19, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

A devotee of Ban Tha Rua Chinese shrine with his cheeks pierced sits in trance before a procession celebrating the annual vegetarian festival in Phuket October 19, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

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People take pictures as a devotee of the Chinese Bang Neow Shrine is helped with piercing before a street procession during the annual vegetarian festival in Phuket October 20, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

People take pictures as a devotee of the Chinese Bang Neow Shrine is helped with piercing before a street procession during the annual vegetarian festival in Phuket October 20, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

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A devotee of the Chinese Jui Tui Shrine with pierced cheeks takes part in the annual vegetarian festival procession through central Phuket October 21, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

A devotee of the Chinese Jui Tui Shrine with pierced cheeks takes part in the annual vegetarian festival procession through central Phuket October 21, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

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A devotee of the Chinese Jui Tui Shrine goes into a trance before taking part in the annual vegetarian festival procession through central Phuket October 21, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

A devotee of the Chinese Jui Tui Shrine goes into a trance before taking part in the annual vegetarian festival procession through central Phuket October 21, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

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A devotee of Ban Tha Rua Chinese shrine with her cheeks pierced takes part in a procession celebrating the annual vegetarian festival in Phuket October 19, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

A devotee of Ban Tha Rua Chinese shrine with her cheeks pierced takes part in a procession celebrating the annual vegetarian festival in Phuket October 19, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

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A devotee of the Chinese Jui Tui Shrine gets another knife pierced through his cheek during the annual vegetarian festival in central Phuket October 21, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

A devotee of the Chinese Jui Tui Shrine gets another knife pierced through his cheek during the annual vegetarian festival in central Phuket October 21, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

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A devotee of Ban Tha Rua Chinese shrine is helped with piercing palm branches through his cheeks during a procession celebrating the annual vegetarian festival in Phuket October 19, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

A devotee of Ban Tha Rua Chinese shrine is helped with piercing palm branches through his cheeks during a procession celebrating the annual vegetarian festival in Phuket October 19, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

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A devotee of the Chinese Kathu shrine with his face pierced gets into a trance before a procession at the annual vegetarian festival in central Phuket October 22, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

A devotee of the Chinese Kathu shrine with his face pierced gets into a trance before a procession at the annual vegetarian festival in central Phuket October 22, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

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People pray as they watch devotees in trance climbing ladders made of metal blades during the annual vegetarian festival in central Phuket late October 21, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

People pray as they watch devotees in trance climbing ladders made of metal blades during the annual vegetarian festival in central Phuket late October 21, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

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Devotees in trance climb ladders made of metal blades during the annual vegetarian festival in central Phuket late October 21, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

Devotees in trance climb ladders made of metal blades during the annual vegetarian festival in central Phuket late October 21, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

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A devotee in trance goes down the ladders made of metal blades during the annual vegetarian festival in central Phuket late October 21, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

A devotee in trance goes down the ladders made of metal blades during the annual vegetarian festival in central Phuket late October 21, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

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A devotee of the Chinese Kathu shrine with his face pierced takes part in a procession at the annual vegetarian festival in central Phuket October 22, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

A devotee of the Chinese Kathu shrine with his face pierced takes part in a procession at the annual vegetarian festival in central Phuket October 22, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

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A devotee of the Chinese Kathu shrine with a piece of wood pierced through his cheek gets ready for a procession at the annual vegetarian festival in central Phuket October 22, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

A devotee of the Chinese Kathu shrine with a piece of wood pierced through his cheek gets ready for a procession at the annual vegetarian festival in central Phuket October 22, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

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A devotee of the Chinese Bang Neow Shrine cut himself with a saw during a street procession of the annual vegetarian festival in Phuket October 20, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

A devotee of the Chinese Bang Neow Shrine cut himself with a saw during a street procession of the annual vegetarian festival in Phuket October 20, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

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Devotees of the Chinese Yokkekeng shrine carry a statue during a street procession at the annual vegetarian festival in central Phuket October 22, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

Devotees of the Chinese Yokkekeng shrine carry a statue during a street procession at the annual vegetarian festival in central Phuket October 22, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

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Devotees of Ban Tha Rua Chinese shrine get into a trance as they prepare for a procession celebrating the annual vegetarian festival in Phuket October 19, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

Devotees of Ban Tha Rua Chinese shrine get into a trance as they prepare for a procession celebrating the annual vegetarian festival in Phuket October 19, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

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A devotee of Ban Tha Rua Chinese shrine with her cheeks and tongue pierced stands in a trance before a procession celebrating the annual vegetarian festival in Phuket October 19, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

A devotee of Ban Tha Rua Chinese shrine with her cheeks and tongue pierced stands in a trance before a procession celebrating the annual vegetarian festival in Phuket October 19, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

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Devotees in trance stand around a table with fruits outside a shrine during the annual vegetarian festival in Phuket October 19, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

Devotees in trance stand around a table with fruits outside a shrine during the annual vegetarian festival in Phuket October 19, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

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Statues are placed at Ban Tha Rua Chinese shrine before a procession celebrating the annual vegetarian festival in Phuket October 19, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

Statues are placed at Ban Tha Rua Chinese shrine before a procession celebrating the annual vegetarian festival in Phuket October 19, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

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Devotees of Ban Tha Rua Chinese shrine are offered fruits from residents during a procession celebrating the annual vegetarian festival in Phuket October 19, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

Devotees of Ban Tha Rua Chinese shrine are offered fruits from residents during a procession celebrating the annual vegetarian festival in Phuket October 19, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

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A devotee of Ban Tha Rua Chinese shrine gets his cheeks pierced before a procession celebrating the annual vegetarian festival in Phuket October 19, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

A devotee of Ban Tha Rua Chinese shrine gets his cheeks pierced before a procession celebrating the annual vegetarian festival in Phuket October 19, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

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A devotee of Ban Tha Rua Chinese shrine with his cheeks pierced gets ready for a procession celebrating the annual vegetarian festival in Phuket October 19, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

A devotee of Ban Tha Rua Chinese shrine with his cheeks pierced gets ready for a procession celebrating the annual vegetarian festival in Phuket October 19, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

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