Phuket Town prepares for red turtle festival

Posted on August 8, 2013

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The annual Por Tor Festival will be held this year at various places in Phuket Town between August 23 and September 4.The festival falls on the first day of the seventh lunar month according to the Chinese calendar. Thai Chinese people believe the spirits of ancestors are released to visit their relatives during the festival.

It is also known as the Chinese Hungry Ghosts Festival, with believers preparing food not only for their ancestors but also to nourish spirits who have no living family to visit.

There will be two parades, on August 23 and 30.

Mr Theerapong Iam-manajaroen, head of the Fresh Market Club explained, “The parade on August 23 will take the image of [the God] Por Tor Kong to the fresh market, so that people can worship him at the market from 12:30 in the afternoon until midnight.

“The parade will start about 11.30 am from the house of Taokae Loh Joo behind the market, proceed along Bangkok Rd to the Suriyadet Circle and then into Ranong Rd to the fresh market.

“The parade on August 30 will start about 5:30 pm from 72nd Anniversary Queen Sirikit Park [Dragon Park], go along Thalang Rd, then turn left into Thepkrasattree Rd and Phuket Rd, ending at the Por Tor Kong Shrine [at the intersection of Takua Tung Rd and Soi Saksit], near Bang Niew Municipal School.

Central to the Por Tor Kong Festival is the making of bright red cakes in the shape of turtles.

Mayor Somjai Suwannasupapana said, “The red turtle cake is essential to the festival. It is the symbol of good luck, fortune, and long life.”

Mr Theerapong said that in addition to the parades and displays of red turtle cakes, there will also be exhibitions and shows on Ranong Rd, including fruit carving by students, mini concerts featuring singers including Bai Toey R-Siam and Kaew Fah Pawirun, and Thai dancing shows. “We will have five stages, and there will also be many stalls.

“At 9am on Aug 24 at the Ranong Rd market anyone may join in offering alms to a total of 85 Buddhist monks. We will do the same in the evening,” Mr Theerapong said.

Similar activities will take place at the Por Tor Kong Shrine, said Prasert Fakthongphol, head of the Bang Niew Shrine Club.

Deputy Mayor Kawee Tansukatanon said that there would be one change this year. “In past years people left many of their red turtle cakes in the shrines after they finished worshipping. This year, however, we will take the cakes out, and display them in Soi Saksit. We’ll have hundreds of turtle cakes displayed from August 25 to September 4.

“We will provide tables and tents for the turtle cakes. Anyone can bring a cake, whatever its size – small or large. There will also be local products and food for sale. Teams from the shrines will fry up slices of turtle cake to give out free to everyone.

“In Takua Tung Rd, local people have asked to close the road to traffic in order to set up stalls selling food and beverages from 5 to 10 pm each day of the festival.

“We still have not made a decision about this because it would create certain problems of parking and traffic.”

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Posted in: Phuket