Where else in Thailand can you see bright red turtles that are then chopped up into small pieces rolled in flour and deep-fried – Issan, Chang Mai, Pattaya or Bangkok?
Wrong – Phuket.
Last week was the Por Tor Festival in Phuket and the turtles were actually small or enormous cakes in the shape of a turtle!
Tim visited Phuket Town this year with his family, who left to watch the turtles being cooked, eat candy-floss and play with toy dogs in the controlled pandemonium of the market.
Tim met Jamie (from Jamie’s Phuket blog), Chaya (from Phuket Heritage Trails) and others in Siam Indigo for a cocktail whilst Chaya told them all about the Por Tor Festival and it’s traditions.
In brief it is referred to as the ‘Hungry Ghost Festival’ and the Chinese community believes that once a year the dead spirits of their ancestors will return to their homes and the turtles are (a symbol) food for them and the red colour represents wealth – similar to a Chinese Cremation.
Chaya then took them all into the heart – the market was a hub of activity, selling food, selling toys, giving out food and happiness was abound.
The infectious happiness of the Thai people was happily shared with everybody who was there – sometimes catching an infection isn’t that bad for you.