The Thai Vegetarian festival, locally known as the Jae Festival, is a nine-day vegetarian food festival celebrated all over Thailand. It is also known as the Nine Emperor Gods Festival. Jae, is actually even more strict than straight-forward vegetarianism or veganism. Besides staying away from meat or animal products, pungent-odour vegetables are not used in cooking, i.e. no garlic, onions or chives! It is also a period of purification of the mind and body and in some places, very elaborate ceremonies take place including body piercing and firewalking!
The Jae Festival is celebrated yearly during the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar year which this year falls between 8 – 17 October. If you visit any local shopping malls, street food stalls, restaurants or seven 7-11 stores, you will notice strings of yellow and red-triangle shaped flags everywhere. This is they symbol of the Jae festival and the sign that you’ve found something safe to eat, if you are observing this 10-day festival.
Some of the most popular foods are vegetable dumplings, tofu treats and sweet desserts swimming in coconut milk, to name a few. But, no matter what, most items are worth a try – some naturally made this way year-round and others whose recipes have been modified to cut out meat, fish or other animal products for this period alone.