Phuket's gruesome vegetarian festival is under way, as devotees celebrate a belief that abstinence from meat and stimulants during the ninth month of the Asian lunar calendar will bring about health and peace of mind.

Those taking part in the festival show their religious devotion through ritualistic and self-mutilating trials, in order to display their devotion and venerate their gods and ancestors. One common practice is piercing both cheeks and threading objects through the holes. However, many use the festival as an opportunity to see who can have the most bizarre objects sticking out of their faces. From rifles to recorders, bicycles to yarn – even giant lollypops were among the objects placed inside their mouths during this years festival. IBTimesUK presents some of the best photos from the event so far: