The Nine Emperor Gods Festival [wiki] is a Chinese festival celebrating the return of the Nine Emperor spirits from heaven to earth. So, what better way to celebrate this "holy day" than to punch some real holes in your own face and shove violent things like skewers and guns through 'em?
In Thailand, this festival is called Tesagan Gin Je, the Vegetarian Festival. Over the nine days from October 11 to Octoer 19, Chinese in Phuket Island celebrate the festival by holding a massive street processions
by ‘Carrying Gods‘, they are believed to be ‘possessed by the spirits of gods’, so that they can perform some outstanding stunts.
To be able to participate in the events, one must have No Meat, Smoke, Alcohol and Sex for 10 days, to be Cleaned from dirty sins. Hundreds of believers pierce their cheeks, nose, lips, using different kind of sharp objects such as swords, daggers, rods, and M-16 Machine Gun!
http://ahboon.net/2007/10/25/nine-emperor-gods-festival-in-thailand/ | Original gallery at Ochevidec [in Russian] - Thanks Gahsoon!