Getting Ready for the Vegetarian Festival in Thailand

The Vegetarian Festival is nearly upon us again. This will now be my fifth year of eating vegan for ten days. It’s much easier than it sounds and it is something that I look forward to every year. The Vegetarian Festival (Gin J Festival) happens every year in the tenth Thai lunar month on the first new moon after the equinox. This year it is celebrated between 14th and 24th October 2012. Most people make the mistake in thinking that this is a festival only celebrated in Phuket. Although it is true that their version is certainly livelier, it is actually celebrated in many places around Thailand wherever there are large Chinese communities. I will be taking part in this festival here in Samut Prakan and also in Chinatown in Bangkok.

If you go to any of the supermarkets and convenience stores you will probably see sections with yellow flags and red writing. The large red word above in Thai says “jay” which means that this food is safe for people who are taking part in the festival. The most common food includes soy bean milk and mama noodles. There is even cup noodles of tom yum with mushrooms and tofu. There seems to be “jay” stickers on everything including coffee (3-in-1 variety). In the past I bought lots of stuff with the intention to cook for myself. But, there are so many vegetarian stalls near my house that it is easy to eat out every day. So, the only thing that I bought today was soya milk. Make sure it has the “jay” sticker as some have milk powder.


If you are interested in seeing pictures of the Vegetarian Festival in Thailand, then follow me on Twitter at @EnjoyThaiFood for the vegetarian food and @RichardBarrow for pictures of the Chinese ceremonies.

4 thoughts on “Getting Ready for the Vegetarian Festival in Thailand

  • September 14, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    Hi, I’m Mam. I live in the Southern of Thailand. In 2013 the Vegetarian Festival start on the 5th October until 13th October. Are you still in Thailand? Hope you enjoy the festival^^.

  • January 12, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    Have the dates for 2013 fixed yet ?

    • January 12, 2013 at 4:57 pm

      It hasn’t been officially announced yet. But this year should start during the first week of October. Probably around the 4th October 2013.

  • October 14, 2012 at 9:42 am

    Assuming that the letter “J” in the word “Jay” is to be pronounced like “Jatujak”, or like the HanyuPinyin “Tz” pronunciation equivalent, then this word “Jay” sounds like a loan-word from the Chinese Language. Spelled as “Tzai”, which mean Vegetarian.

    Curious to know why the Anglicization of the Thai Language never included the letter “Q”, but decided to use the letter “G” instead. It causes non-Thai’s to get confused order between chicken and egg orders (Phad Kha Pow Kai vs Phad Kha Pow Gai) I’m therefore suggesting Phad Kha Pow Kai and Phad Kha Pow Qai

    It causes Thai people to claim that something is “Vely Koot”, and completely baffles listeners when they say “My ma-der boht a new koat”, a tossup between a new jacket or a bleating animal.

    While on the subject, it always tickles me pink to hear “Pik-See Stay-shen, Chopping Sea-Sen…” in Big C. And is it true that News readers who say “After-Chok” actually cannot pronounce the “sh” combination?

    Lastly, this was an old article about eating meat vs gathering nuts & berries:

    Happy wearing white 🙂


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