Makha Bucha Day Monday: lots of Buddhism, no booze

FILE PHOTO: Makha Bucha Day is coming on Monday, March 6.

Buddha Days: holidays of religious celebration for Thais and sober frustration for foreign tourists. Next week Thailand will celebrate Makha Bucha Day, an important religious holiday for Thai Buddhists. The holiday falls on Monday, March 6.

While the day may not hold the same religious significance for non-Buddhists, it is still recognized as a significant day in Thai culture, and for tourists for the banning of alcohol sales.

Makha Bucha Day falls on the full moon day of the third lunar month. Even the massive Full Moon Party in Koh Pha Ngan, which rarely follows the rules and laws, postpones the big event by one day in observance of Buddha Day. Other parties start after midnight when it is technically the next day and drinking is legal again.

But aside from ruining some tourists’ buzz, what is Makha Bucha Day? Thai Buddhists have to pay homage to the Buddha and his teachings. Its importance dates back more than 2,500 years ago to the time of the Buddha.

Buddhist scriptures tell that, on this day, the Buddha gave a sermon that was attended by a spontaneous gathering of 1,250 disciples. The gathering of the Buddha’s disciples at the event was remarkable as they arrived from various locations without prior summons. This is seen as a testament to their sincerity and commitment to the Buddha’s teachings.

Celebrated by candle-lit ceremonies and gatherings, Makha Bucha Day will also see the closure of most government offices, including immigration. Commercial businesses aren’t officially closed, but many may close in observance.

Makha Bucha is a total alcohol sales ban day in effect across the whole of Thailand. Bars and clubs can’t operate normally, and alcohol is not allowed at restaurants, hotels, supermarkets, and convenience stores.

The ban serves as a reminder to the Thai populace that Makha Bucha is a time for self-examination and contemplation. It presents a chance for individuals to ponder over their conduct and behaviour and focus on adhering to the principles of Buddhism.

After all, Buddhism condemns drinking alcohol and being sexually promiscuous. Other Buddhist doctrine includes not stealing or spreading rumours, and not harming others.

Makha Bucha Day is an important religious holiday for Thai Buddhists, it is also a significant aspect of Thai culture and should be respected by all those staying in the kingdom, regardless of their religious beliefs.

Non-Buddhists can participate as well by visiting a temple to learn about or practice self-reflection and mindfulness. They can also take part in charity, and avoid alcoholic drinks and entertainment.

EventsThailand News

Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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