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Remember Thailand’s alcohol sales ban tomorrow!

Tara Abhasakun

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As is custom for several of Thailand’s religious holidays, alcohol sales will be prohibited across the country tomorrow (Sunday) for Visakha Bucha Day. The day, the most significant in the Buddhist calendar, commemorates 3 defining events in the life of the Lord Buddha. These include his birth, attaining enlightenment at 35 years old, and then his death 45 years later, which all occurred on the full-moon day of the sixth lunar month.

Like other Buddhist holidays, such as Makha Bucha Day, Thais will attend ceremonies at temples throughout the country. After the sun sets, many temple attendees will walk clockwise 3 times around the main temple building, while holding 3 incense sticks, a lit candle, and lotus buds.

While at the temple, people also listen to sermons on Buddha’s teachings, meditate, recommit themselves to follow the precepts of Buddhism, and offer food to temple workers. Some also set birds or fish free as a means of eliminating “negative karma”.

People caught violating the alcohol sales ban on Visakha Bucha day risk 6 months in prison, a 10,000 baht fine, or both. The same is true about 4 of Thailands other religious holidays, which are Makha Bucha Day, Asarnha Bucha Day, Khao Pansa Day, and Wan Org Pansa Day.

Many non-Buddhists might see these holidays as simply another damper on their fun, on top of Thailand’s already strict enforcement on alcohol curfew times from Covid-19 restrictions. But if you’re a Thai cultural enthusiast, they can be an opportunity to learn about history and traditions.

Buddha was born in Nepal some 2,500 years ago as a rich prince, but he left that life of luxury to seek out wisdom from the wise hermits who lived in woodlands scattered throughout the region at the time. He felt disappointed, however, and instead meditated under a Bodhi tree. There, he is believed to have attained enlightenment at the age of 35 and to have formulated the basic tenets of Buddhism.

Later, at age 80, he died. Buddhists believe he then entered the state of “nirvana” and escaped all suffering, death, and reincarnation.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

 

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    A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.

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