5 day long weekend this week, starting with Asahna Bucha Day

This week Thailand will have a long weekend, a very long weekend. From this Wednesday there will be a 5 day break for many Thais although the official holidays, depending on who you work for, are only Wednesday, July 13, and Thursday, July 14 – Asanha Bucha Day and the start of the Buddhist Lent.

The two days are two of Thailand’s most important religious annual holidays. Both days are alcohol free days, according to Buddhist tradition, and will be imposed across the Kingdom.

With Wednesday and Thursday officially public holidays, many workplaces have also declared Friday as a public holiday to make a dull 5 day long weekend. Many schools are also declaring Friday as a public holiday as well.

Thais and Buddhists will head to their local temples on Wednesday for Asahna Bucha Day. The auspicious day marks the day when the Lord Buddha delivered his first sermon at Benares in India over 2,500 years ago.

Like many other Buddhist festivals and holidays, Asahna Bucha (also written as Asalha Puja and other English equivalents) is a day when Thai Buddhists will make merit and visit the local wat. Traditionally, candles are amongst the items donated to the wat for Asahna Bucha, and processions featuring candles are held in various towns in Thailand.

The exact date of the holiday is determined by the waxing moon and the lunar months but is usually held in July or August each year. This year it is July 13. It was also the start of the period of Buddhist Lent.

Local people will also ‘wian tian’ which involves walking around the wat with a lit candle, lotus flowers, and incense. The day after Asahna Bucha is another significant day with Wan Khao Phansa marking the start of the three-month ‘Phansa’ period which is sometimes referred to as ‘Buddhist Lent’.

All nightlife will be closed on Wednesday and Thursday nights. There will also be a 48 hour ban on the sale of alcohol. Restaurants, hotels, and convenience stores will be unable to sell alcohol during this period.

All government offices in Thailand, including immigration offices, will be closed over the five day break and will reopen on July 18.

Thailand’s battered tourism industry will be hoping for a surge of domestic travel over the 5 days.

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Tim Newton

Tim Newton has lived in Thailand since 2011. An Australian, he has worked in the media, principally radio and TV, for 42 years. He has won the Deutsche Welle Award for best radio talk program (public radio Australia), presented over 11,000 radio news bulletins, 3,950 in Thailand alone, hosted 1050 daily TV news programs and produced 2,100 videos, TV commercials and documentaries. He also reported for CNN, Deutsche Welle TV, CBC, Australia's ABC TV and Australian radio during the 2018 Cave Rescue and other major stories in Thailand.