Visakha Bucha Day or Vesak Day

Visakha Bucha (วิสาขบูชา) or Vesak Day is one of the most important Buddhist festival in the Thai calendar. It celebrates the birth, enlightenment and death of Buddha Guatama. According to Theravada Buddhist teachings observed in South East Asia, these three events all took place on the same day of the year, the full moon day of the Indian sixth lunar month of Wisaka. Thus, the Buddha’s enlightenment took place on his thirty-fifth birthday and he passed away on his eightieth birthday.

Devout Buddhists may visit the temple, to meditate and listen to sermons, bringing flowers and offerings for a least a week prior to the actual day to help them with attuning their minds to the Buddhist path and message. In the evenings there is often candlelit processions, and the Buddhists will walk around the main shrine of a temple three times to  celebrate the three jewels of Buddhism – Buddha, his teachings (Dhamma) and the monkhood (Sangha).

In Thailand it is a national holiday with schools, banks, embassies and government offices all closed for the day Monday 4 June (2012- UK Embassy in Bangkok Thailand is closed for Monday & Tuesday due to the Queens Jubillee celibraitions in the UK).

During Visakha Bucha, devout Buddhists will observe not merely the five precepts that all Buddhists should observe on a daily basis, but an additional three precepts, namely: not eating anything after mid-day, not wearing bright clothes, jewelry, or perfume, and not using a soft chair or bed. Many devout Buddhists can be recogised during this period by the white clothing they wear whish is often a strack contrast to the dull buildings found in the larger cities such as Bangkok.

 

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