Image: Guillaume Megevand
Firecrackers are actually the most dangerous element of the event.
The origins of the Phuket festival are unclear, but according to one legend it all goes back to a wandering Chinese opera troupe that visited the island over a century ago. Members of the troupe, it is said, were afflicted with malaria, a disease that normally meant death in those days. The group decided to purify themselves by sticking to vegetarian food and by praying to the Nine Emperor Gods. It worked, and they made a full recovery. As a result, the festival in honor of the Nine Emperor Gods is held every year.