Por Tor festival is one of the religious and culturally rich festivals celebrated in Phuket, a testament to the island’s long standing Chinese Hokkien history which began when the first Chinese immigrants from Malaysia and China came to work in the tin mines in Phuket .
The Por Tor or ‘turtle’ festival is celebrated on 7th month of the Lunar calendar which is approximately during the month of August according to the western calendar. This festival is about worshipping ancestors who are the ‘hungry ghosts’, who are believed to be released at this time of the month by the Goddess ‘Gwan Yin’ so that they can revisit their former homes on earth.
During the festival Chinese Hokkien families will prepare beautifully decorated flowers, foods, fruits, candles and red turtle shaped cakes, which they offer at the altar to worship their ancestors. The Chinese believe that the turtle is a symbol of long life and that red is a lucky colour, and so these cakes will bring them long life, luck and success.Families also worship their ancestors, to show gratitude for their contribution to the present day community.
In Phuket you can mainly see the celebrations at Phuket Town Fresh Market on Ranong Road (Aug 16+17th 2011), or at Por Tor Kong Shrine (Aug 18th-25th) known to the locals as ‘Seng Tek Bew Kuan Im Tai Seu Shrine’ on Ta Kua Tung Road (Bang Neaw district on the way to Saphan Hin). From noon until midnight there will be many activities such as live concerts, magic shows, lion dances, stage shows, local games like darts, shooting galleries, fishing games etc. There will also be lots of local food stalls selling a variety of delicious Phuketian and Thai delicacies.
Have you been lucky enough to celebrate this festival in Phuket? If so feel free to tell us about it here.
Uchralt Adiayaku (Thavorn Hotels & Resorts)