Animal trances and tattoos at Thai Buddhist festival

A Buddhist devotee receives a protective tattoo during an annual festival, at Wat Bang Phra temple in Nakhon Chaisi west of Bangkok on March 7, 2015 (AFP Photo/Christophe Archambault)

Nakhon Pathom (Thailand) (AFP) – It begins with moans, then screams and feverish dancing followed by mad dashes through a densely packed crowd.

Thousands of Buddhist devotees gathered Saturday at Thailand’s Wat Bang Phra temple for an annual festival celebrating traditional Sak Yant tattoos, which wearers believe will bring them good luck and protection from harm.

Each March followers return to the temple in Nakhon Pathom province, 80 kilometres (50 miles) west of Bangkok, to have the protective power of their tattoos “recharged” by monks.

Sak Yant artwork often feature animals and as the festival reaches its climax, many acolytes work themselves into a wild trance that ends with them sprinting though crowds possessed by an animalistic power.

AFP, “Animal trances and tattoos at Thai Buddhist festival”, March 6, 2015 7:44 PM. URL: http://news.yahoo.com/animal-trances-tattoos-thai-buddhist-festival-110754415.html