Kathu Festival, or the ‘Kathu Street Culture Festival’ as it is known in full, is a rather new event compared to other well-known festivals on the island but it’s getting popular and draws a bigger and bigger crowd each year of its existence. Spectators will enjoy checking out the street stalls, stage shows, live music, exhibitions and Thai traditional children’s games.
This all takes place because the folks at Kathu want to celebrate and promote their traditions and customs as well as pass them on to the next generations.
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In the old days, Kathu as a small village relied on two main industries; rice farming and tin mining. The latter was the main force that put Kathu on the map. Visitors will get to see quite a few very interesting exhibitions devoted to this subject.
The festival also underscores the fact that many Kathu residents are of Thai-Chinese extraction. It features Chinese-influenced local treats (many are vegetarian dishes), lion dances, martial arts, parades where people put on their best Chinese-style attire as well as Phuket traditional costumes.
The demonstrations of how to set up an offering table for Chinese gods/deities. Where to position the selected offerings on the table is very important and has to be planned ahead. Also, each of the items has a special meaning. For example, fruits that are usually seen on the offering table are oranges (representing good luck), pineapples (referring to the variety of good opportunities in life), apples (peacefulness) and grapes (prosperity).
This activity is traditionally very important for families as it’s not only a chance to pay respect to what they believe but also for family members to spend time together. After the ceremony, the womenfolk will start cooking noodles, pork, chicken and/or seafood from the offering table, and then they will all eat together. Kids will get to eat some delicious sweets that are especially made for important events such as this one.
Dressing with respect is important when joining any kind of traditional events in Thailand. For ladies, avoid wearing anything that is too short or too revealing.
The weather can be unpredictable most of the time in low season. It’s a wise idea to bring along an umbrella. Kathu Shrine, also in Kathu, is known as the original home of the famous Phuket Vegetarian festival. It’s worth it to pay a visit.
- Opening Hours: Best time to go: After 17:30
- Location: Around Kathu market, one of the biggest markets on the island, which is located on Wichit Songkram Road. Kathu is roughly halfway between Patong and Phuket Town.