Thousands Gather for the Sak Yant Wai Kru Festival
Nakhon Chai Si, Thailand
Hordes of screaming men possessed by their magic Sak Yant tattoos run wildly towards a shrine, crashing into the human shield of soldiers protecting it. Welcome to Thailand’s bizarre Wai Kru Festival.
Each year over 10,000 people gather at Wat Bang Phra, a large Buddhist temple about an hour outside Bangkok to recharge the magic of their sacred Sak Yant tattoos.
Sak Yants are traditional Thai tattoos etched into the skin by Buddhist monks for protection luck, blessed with magic powers. Often applied by hand using a long metal or bamboo rod with a needle attached to the end, dipped in special ink made from ingredients like charcoal snake venom.
However the supernatural power of these tattoos wears off over time, requiring them to be re-blessed and recharged. This is the purpose of the Wai Kru festival, paying respect to the teacher, and infusing new magic into thousands of Sak Yants at once.
The result can only be described as absolute mayhem.
Monks Applying Sak Yant Tattoos
Penetrating the Flesh with Ink