The annual Thailand Vegetarian Festival marks the Autumn equinox (9th Lunar cycle of Chinese calendar) and originally derives from the Taoist “Nine Emperor Gods Festival” celebrated throughout China and South East Asian countries with a population of Chinese descendants.
About 150 years ago a Chinese Opera group began to fall ill while performing in Phuket, Thailand. They came to the realisation that they had not shown respect to the Nine Emperor Gods during the lunar cycle and decided to eat vegetarian food to remain pure for the first nine days of the ninth lunar month. They vowed to not kill anything, not hurt anyone, refrain from lying or cheating.
This is why the the 9-day Nine Emperor Festival is known in Thailand as “Tesagan Gin Je เทศกาลกินเจ”, the annual “Vegetarian Festival”; largely being celebrated in Phuket.
This year it is being celebrated throughout the entire country between October 15-23, 2012. During this nine day period, those who are participating in the festival dress all in white and “gin je กินเจ”, which has come to be translated as abstinence from eating meat, poultry, seafood, and dairy products – look out for the Yellow Flag at restaurants and street vendor stalls, signifying that dishes served are vegetarian. Traditional devotees to the 9-day celebration will however consume vegetarian food only made in the sacred kitchen of the Chinese temple (san jao ศาลเจ้า or ahm อ๊ำ).
Pathumwan Princess Hotel is offering a selection of Traditional Korean Vegetarian dishes to mark the festival throughout October at Kongju Korean BBQ Restaurant.
Korean Cuisine Specialist Hanna Kim recommendations diners to try Spiced Kye Ja Che (Mustard Vegetable Salad), Nok Du Jeon (Pan-fried Green Bean and Kimchi Pancake) and Ja Jang Myeon (Noodles, Onion, Potato and Pork with Mashed Brown Bean).
Sources: http://www.wikipedia.org/ and http://www.gobackpacking.com/