Makha Bucha Day | Thai Buddhist Culture
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In this Learn Thai Online lesson, we will learn about Makha Bucha Day (วันมาฆบูชา /wan maa-ká-buu-chaa/).
Credit Photo: DMC
“Makha Bucha Day (วันมาฆบูชา /wan maa-ká-buu-chaa/)” is one of the most important religious festivals celebrated in Thailand, and is done to venerate the teachings of Buddha. In 2013, Thailand will celebrate this public holiday on the 25th of February which falls on the full moon day of the third month in the lunar calendar. “Makha (มาฆ /maa-ká/)” is the Thai word for the third Lunar month, while “Bucha (บูชา /buu-chaa/)” means to honor or to venerate.
History of Makha Bucha Day (ประวัติวันมาฆบูชา /bprà-wàt wan maa-ká-buu-chaa/)
Several different sources cite the origins of this day to certain events that occurred in the Buddha’s lifetime. Just nine months after his Enlightenment, 1,250 monks came to see the Buddha without a preset schedule. This gathering gave the Buddha the opportunity to teach them the “Principle Teaching (โอวาทปาติโมกข์ /oo-wâat-bpaa-dtì-môok/)” or the Principles of Buddhism: do what is good, cease all evil and purify the mind.
In Thailand, these teachings are known as the “Heart of Buddhism (หัวใจของพระพุทธศาสนา /hǔa-jai kɔ̌ɔng prá-pút-tá-sàat-sà-nǎa/”. This gathering occurred on the full moon during the third lunar month.
Another event celebrated during this day occurred 45 years later, shortly before the end of the Buddha’s life. Here, the Buddha gave his final teachings and achieved the final Nirvana or “Parinibbhana (ปารินิพพาน /bpaa-rí-níp-paan/)” where his spirit or mind is separated from the physical body. This also happened on the full moon day of the third lunar month.
Makha Bucha Day Activities (กิจกรรมวันมาฆบูชา /gìt-jà-gam wan maa-ká-buu-chaa/)
Makha Bucha Day (วันมาฆบูชา /wan maa-ká-buu-chaa/) is a highly religious festival, one that is strongly observed throughout the country. Buddhists visit temples to pay their respects to the Buddha. Many hear sermons and the teachings of the Buddha, while others use this day to build up their merit by doing good deeds and participating in special events (ทำบุญ /tam bun/ to make merit). There are also other activities that are slated for this occasion.
No Alcohol (งดแอลกอฮอล์ /ngót el-gɔɔ-hɔɔ/)
Tourists should note that while many restaurants and dining establishments around Thailand will be open during Makha Bucha, they most likely will not serve alcoholic beverage. Most bars will also be closed at this time.
State and government office operations are also closed on Makha Bucha day.
*Support information by “Thai Holiday”
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