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Vegetarian festival takes body piercings to the extreme

Every year, on the first evening of the ninth lunar moon, the Phuket Vegetarian Festival begins in Thailand, lasting nine days. Participants go to a Buddhist shrine and, while in a trance-like state, pierce their bodies in an attempt to shift evil spirits from others onto themselves and to bring good luck to the community. Some run across fire, while others climb up ladders made of blades. Most participants are male, and this year less than 20 injuries have been reported — most are due to piercings being cut too wide, Agence France-Presse reports. --Catherine Garcia

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