It is believed by some of the Phuket Community that the spirits of our dead ancestors will visit them once a year on Earth.
This mean that tables are set with food in homes and candles and joss sticks are lit and doors of the homes are left open. This is an invitation to the spirits to come into the home and the spirits will have left when the candles and joss sticks have burnt out.
There is a more public display and this is the baking of cakes that are shaped as turtles and then covered with ‘red icing sugar’.
The turtles are covered in red icing and are made locally – much like the ‘Mooncakes’. The turtles are bright red because in this tradition this is the colour of ‘good luck’. The shape of the cake is a turtle because this symbolises ‘long life’.
These turtles are carried in a parade through Phuket along with a number of people in their local dress. The red turtles will be enormous and carried on a vehicle or will be carried by hand.
The parade will finish in Phuket Town, usually at the large Chinese Shrine called Jui Tui.
The Red Turtles however will be taken into the Car Park above the enclosed Local Market. Here the Car Park will be full of tables with food prepared for the spirits – whole roasted pig, deep fried duck, red Fanta drinks, carved fruits and more red turtle cakes!
In the middle of this there is a Shrine and carpet set up for this occasion. Here the local dignitaries will give their blessing to the gods and ask for luck for the future.