RELIGION

Thousands Gather In Thailand To Receive Magical Tattoos From Buddhist Monks

03/10/2015 04:36 pm ET | Updated Mar 10, 2015

A good luck charm inscribed on the body follows you wherever you go.

For thousands of Buddhist devotees, this is reason enough to make the journey to Wat Bang Phra temple in Thailand for the Sak Yant festival every March.

Sak means "tap tattoo" and Yant translates into "sacred design." During the festival, Buddhist monks deliver sacred tattoos to devotees, who believe these designs can ward off physical harm, bestow good fortune and offer healing powers.

The tattoos are made with a "mai sak" -- a long bamboo stick sharpened to a point. The ink is made from various ingredients and can include snake venom, herbs and cigarette ash. Once the tattoo is completed the monk blesses and blows onto the ink to infuse it with power. The tattooed are then supposed to abstain from drinking, stealing, lying, drugs and alcohol.

Scroll down to witness the power of sak yant, or sacred tattoos:

  • Pacific Press via Getty Images
    Striped male disciple with a Sak Yant tattoo shows his confidence and power to the crowd during the worship ceremony of the schoolmaster Luang Phor Pern in Wat Bang Phra Temple.
  • Piti A Sahakorn via Getty Images
    A tattooed Thai devotee enters into a state of trance as his spirit animal at the Wat Bang Phra tattoo festival in Nakhon Pathom.
  • Piti A Sahakorn via Getty Images
    A Thai Buddhist artist draws a traditional tattoo on the back of a devotee during the tattoo festival at the Wat Bang Phra Temple in Nakhon Pathom.
  • Piti A Sahakorn via Getty Images
  • Piti A Sahakorn via Getty Images
    A Thai Buddhist artist draws a traditional tattoo on the back of a devotee during the tattoo festival at the Wat Bang Phra Temple in Nakhon Pathom.
  • Piti A Sahakorn via Getty Images
    A tattooed Thai devotee preys during the Wat Bang Phra tattoo festival in Nakhon Pathom.
  • CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT via Getty Images
    A Buddhist devotee receives a protective tattoo during the annual festival at Wat Bang Phra temple in Nakhon Chaisi, west of Bangkok, on March 7, 2015.
  • CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT via Getty Images
    Devotees raise their hands to try and catch blessed objects during an annual tattoo festival at Wat Bang Phra temple in Nakhon Chaisi.
  • CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT via Getty Images
    A heavily tattooed Buddhist devotee sits among the crowd during an annual tattoo festival, at Wat Bang Phra temple.
  • CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT via Getty Images
    A Buddhist devotee works himself into a trance during the annual tattoo festival at Wat Bang Phra temple.

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