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Makha Bucha Day – Why does Thailand have a public holiday?

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For Thai buddhists the day is a day of reflection and visits to the temple. For many others it’s a day of alcohol abstinence. In fact there is always a 24 hour alcohol ban imposed on the day, from midnight to midnight.

Buddhist commemorations make up a number of the public holidays on the Thai calendar, among them is Makha Bucha Day. The Buddhist calendar traditionally uses dates based on the movement of the moon, and the third lunar month is known in Thai as ‘makha’. The term ‘makha’ comes from the word ‘Magha’ in Pali, the sacred language of the religious texts of the Theravada strand of Buddhism most widely practised in Thailand. ‘Bucha’ is a Thai word – once again deriving from the Pali language, means ‘to venerate’ or ‘to honour’.

So Makha Bucha is taken to refer to a day intended for honouring the third lunar month and, in particular, the Buddha and the teachings that he delivered on the full moon day of the fourth lunar month.

Makha Bucha Day is celebrated in other countries including Cambodia, Laos, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar. It first came to be celebrated in modern-day Thailand during the reign of King Rama IV, first observed only in the grounds of the royal palace and later becoming more widely recognised nationally and finally introduced as a Thai public holiday.

But the origins of Makha Bucha Day itself lies much further back, 45 years before the beginning of the Buddhist era and nine months after the Buddha is said to have achieved enlightenment. Then, on the full moon day of the third lunar month (now known as Makha Bucha Day), Buddhists believe that a meeting between the Buddha and his disciplines became a momentous and historic occasion.

Including the fact that it already fell on the auspicious occasion of a full moon, the meeting is said to have taken on four remarkable characteristics that are still recounted in Buddhist teaching today. These four elements to the gathering have also given Makha Bucha Day its nickname of the Fourfold Assembly Day.

Although Thailand has no official state religion, Theravada Buddhism is by far the majority faith observed by the Thai population, and so significant Buddhist occasions like Makha Bucha Day loom heavy in the Thai consciousness and figure prominently on the country’s calendar. Makha Bucha Day is a public holiday across Thailand, and the occasion is observed in a number of way by lay Buddhists in local communities.

As is common on all manner of Buddhist holidays in Thailand, it is common for Thai Buddhists to visit their local temple to make merit on Makha Bucha Day. While at the temple, they might also listen to Buddhist teachings, give alms to monks, recite Buddhist scriptures, and participate in the evening candlelight processions around the ordination hall that are held by many temples.

If you want to get your own insight into local celebrations of Makha Bucha Day in Thailand, simply stop by the local temple closest to wherever you are staying in Bangkok or elsewhere. Most will be happy to welcome inquisitive foreigners and to let you observe, or even participate, in processions and other activities to mark the holiday.

Makha Bucha Day - Why does Thailand have a public holiday? | News by The Thaiger

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Events

Thai Fruit Golden Month festivals to be held in 8 Chinese cities

Jack Burton

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Thai Fruit Golden Month festivals to be held in 8 Chinese cities | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Chiang Mai CityLife

8 Chinese cities will host Thailand Fruit Golden Months Festivals as local governments there begin easing lockdown measures and travel restrictions. The director-general of the Department of International Trade Promotion made the announcement yesterday, saying the the festivals will promote Thai fruit exports around China.

“The campaign aims to increase the export of durian, mangosteen, longan, mango, rose apple, coconut, pomelo and banana. China will host the festivals from May to July in Shanghai, Qingdao, Nanning, Chengdu, Chongqing, Xian, Xiamen and Kunming.”

“For offline activities, sales booths will be set up at leading department stores in each city. As for online activities, the department and the local authorities will jointly host online business matching from May onwards to invite Chinese retailers to order Thai fruits online to sell in their stores as well as hold promotional campaigns with Chinese mobile applications, like Geso and Hema, to increase sales.”

“The department will also promote Thai fruits in other markets, such as Singapore, Myanmar and Laos in a similar manner once the local governments ease lockdown measures.”

In April, at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, China opened 2 border gates in its southern Guangxi province to allow imports of Thai fruits from the Vietnamese side. Chinese are big importers of Thai fruit, especially Thai-grown durian.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Pattaya

Pattaya police chief battles Thailand’s Iron Chef in cook-off for the needy – VIDEO

Jack Burton

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Pattaya police chief battles Thailand’s Iron Chef in cook-off for the needy – VIDEO | The Thaiger
PHOTO: The Pattaya News

Police in Pattaya are doing more than continue their project to cook food for the needy and unemployed: yesterday they had an upbeat cook-off between the police chief and a famous Thai TV chef. The project is designed for locals who are unemployed or furloughed due to the current Covid-19 crisis. Read more about that HERE.

The Pattaya City police chief took on Thai celebrity chef Kengraratwat Wichianrat, from the show Iron Chef Thailand. The chief is wearing the red hat in the video below:

They cooked around a hundred meals for some of the locals deeply affected by the lockdowns ad closure measures, while officers provided proper physical distancing, hygiene standards and a queue system for diners, all of whom ate for free.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

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Thailand

Visakha Bucha Day, Buddhist holiday – alcohol ban today

The Thaiger

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Visakha Bucha Day, Buddhist holiday – alcohol ban today | The Thaiger

Today is a public holiday in Thailand to mark Visakha Bucha Day, the most significant day in the Buddhist calendar, commemorating three defining events in the life of the Lord Buddha; 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.

Visakha Bucha Day is one of the most important Buddhist holidays in the Thai calendar and this year it takes place on May 6, 2020. It is important as it was the day of three important incidents that occurred during the life of Lord Buddha. They all happened on full moon of the sixth lunar month.

Traditionally, Buddhists gather at temples to perform the ‘wian tien’ ritual, walking in circles three times around the main temple building with lighted candles. But this year the government has urged Buddhists not to gather together for this ritual and, instead, celebrate the event at home with family.

Buddha was born in India 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.

In Thailand, Visakha Bucha Day is a time when the devout visit local temples to “make merit,” by giving donations and engaging in various rituals. While there, they 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”.

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