Makha Bucha Day

Makha Bucha Day 2023 and 2024

What You Need To Know

Makha Bucha Day is a Buddhist celebration that falls on the full moon of the third lunar month. Makha Bucha commemorates and pays respect to Lord Buddha and his teachings.

The festival takes place in Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar (Burma), Sri Lanka, India (Bengal), Nepal, and Bangladesh.

Makha Bucha day is celebrated with prayers at temples and monasteries throughout the morning hours of the festive day.

Makha means “lamp” or “light” in Pali; Bucha means “to make offerings” and refers to the offering of light from lamps lit during this ceremony.

The Buddhist festival of Makha Bucha falls on Monday, February 6, 2023.

Makha Bucha is also called Magha Puja. Makha or Magha is the month, while Bucha or Puja means to make a prayer. Other names of this Buddhist Holiday are Fourfold Assembly Day and Sangha Day.

What Are The Origins Of Makha Bucha Day?

The origins of Makha Bucha day are unclear, and several theories surround the origins of this Buddhist holiday. One theory suggests that this celebration commemorates two separate events relating to Buddha. The first is when Lord Buddha came to his adoptive mother’s house. The second is where the Lord returned to Kapilavastu for the first time after he began teaching.

Another theory suggests that Makha Bucha day commemorates Lord Buddha’s first sermon to his five disciples. Makha Bucha is an important day in the Buddhist calendar. It occurs in the third lunar month, between February and March.

What are the Teachings of Magha Puja? 

The Magha Puja also known as fourfold assembly day is a Buddhist ceremony held on Makha Bucha Day in Thailand and other South Asia countries. It is a Buddhist tradition that is more than 1,300 years old. During the Magha Puja, there are four different Buddhist teachings given to all of the participants present, which translate as follows:

  • Do not do evil deeds
  • Do only good things
  • Purify your heart/mind
  • Realize Nirvana: freedom from ill-wishing, ill-doing, and suffering (can be interchanged with heaven).

Significance Of Magha Puja Day 

It is the time when 1,250 fully enlightened monks gathered to hear Buddha preach at Veluvana Vihara, an ancient locality near Ceylon, Sri Lanka. This event is known as Magha Puja Day and is considered a rare fourfold assembly because of these factors:

  • A total of 1250 Sangha followers came to see Buddha spontaneously.
  • All of the monks were fully enlightened.
  • All monks had been ordained directly by Buddha.
  • Magha month (March) had its full moon day.

Makha Bucha Day In Thailand: A Public Holiday 

Makha Bucha Day is a national holiday in Thailand. This day is a time for Thai Buddhists to make merit and attend religious ceremonies. Making merit is a Buddhist tradition that requires individuals to perform good deeds or donate to monks.

People make merit on Makha Bucha day by bringing food offerings to temples and monasteries. People also bring flowers, candles, incense sticks, water bowls, fruit baskets, gold leaves, and much more.

At noon, people will gather at temples and monasteries to listen to sermons given by Buddhist monks. People also offer food and other necessities to the monks during this time.

After the ceremonies have finished, people will start a candle-lit procession around the principal chedi (Buddhist stupa). This part of Makha Bucha day usually takes place on the festival’s second day.

Another interesting fact is that 93% of the Thai population are Buddhists, but Buddhism is not the official religion. There is no such thing as an Official State Religion in the country. Every citizen has complete freedom to practice their religion.

Rituals and Traditions Associated with Makha Bucha Day?

Makha Bucha day is different in every country. Thai people lit candles on the evening of this religious festival around 7 PM. People also observe Makha Bucha day by reciting Buddhist prayers for specific hours during the morning on the second day of this Buddhist festival. They do this by standing or sitting in one position with their palms facing upwards. The hands are raised at the end of each prayer, then lowered to the forehead while chanting “Namo Thet-ta-gu” three times. This signifies that they have completed offering their prayers for Buddha.

Makha Bucha occurs on the full moon day of Makha (the third lunar month). The term Makha also refers to an ancient Khmer month. Buddhist holidays are becoming increasingly popular around the world. This trend will likely continue in 2022 as well.

What are Traditional Dresses worn in Thailand during Makha Bucha Day?

Makha Bucha is considered one of the most important holidays in Thailand, along with Visakha Bucha Day. Makha Bucha day pays respect to Lord Buddha and his teachings. Monks traditionally wear Dharmagupta robe in orange or saffron colour during Makha Bucha Day. This is known as the Makha Bucha robe.

Although not as formal or traditional, laypeople wear unique clothes on Makha Bucha day. Most Thai people wear white clothes on Makha Bucha day, whereas not all Thai Buddhists follow this tradition; some wear orange clothes.

What Foods are Eaten In Thailand During Makha Bucha Day?

Makha Bucha Day food consists of white rice, sweetmeats, fruits, and nuts. In Thailand, Makha Bucha day is the only Buddhist festival. In contrast, everyone eats from the same bowl in a family unit to promote harmony and kindness.

Thai Public Holiday foods include glutinous rice, sticky coconut rice, and banana rolls. Makha Bucha day is one of Thailand’s most anticipated Buddhist holidays. Makha Bucha day is celebrated on March 6th in 2023 and February 24th in 2024, depending on location. Makha Bucha Day comes during the full moon of Makha, which comes every three months in the lunar calendar.

What Foods are Eaten Around The World During Makha Bucha Day? 

During Makha Bucha Day, Buddhists in Sri Lanka partake in a vegetarian meal called “Bohemia.” The Bohemia is made up of boiled vegetables and rice. Makha Bucha Day is considered one of the most important days in Sri Lanka.

Makha Bucha Food In Cambodia usually consists of fresh fruits, vegetables, rice cakes, and jello. Makha Bucha day is celebrated by eating vegetarian food, praying at Buddhist temples, and sometimes wearing white robes.

Makha Bucha Food In Myanmar usually consists of noodles, pickled tea leaves called Laphet, bonnet fruit, and dairy products. Makha Bucha day food in Myanmar is typically eaten with a flatbread called Chinbyan. Makha Bucha day is also commonly celebrated by young people dressing up as characters from Buddhist mythology. Makha Bucha day is also an opportunity to pray for good luck and prosperity in the new year.

Makha Bucha Food In Bangladesh consists of rice, lentils, eggplant curry, eggplant salad, and various vegetables. People eat the festival food typically with a flatbread called Roti. Makha Bucha day is celebrated by lighting candles, playing music, and singing hymns.

Makha Bucha Celebrations In Thailand

In Thailand, Buddhist festivals are important occasions for people to get together and express their faith in the Principles of Buddhism. Makha Bucha Day is an annual event that usually takes place in February or March of the Western calendar.

During the celebrations, temples display many different art and handicrafts representing the Buddhist era. The exhibits also include traditional items such as hand-woven fabrics and Buddhist clothing.

Inside the temples, there are many paintings and sculptures of Buddha figures. Monks will also dress up in their traditional robes and hold essential ceremonies for the occasion. Other people dress up in traditional clothing and perform merit-making acts with monks during these special events.

Makha Bucha Day festivities can last for several days. People usually go to temples and listen to Buddhist sermons, which focus on Buddhist teaching and tradition.

Family and friends will also get together and spend time with each other during this special day. Buddhists make food offerings at their local temple to show gratitude for everything they have.

On Makha Bucha Day, Buddhists believe that they can purify themselves from three obstacles:

Greed

Hatred

Delusion

This allows them to have a clearer mind to focus on becoming more enlightened through practising the Dharma teachings of Buddha.

Best Places in Thailand to Experience Makha Bucha Day

Makha Bucha Day is primarily celebrated in Buddhist temples, which play an essential role during this special day. Some of the best places across Thailand to experience Makha Bucha Day are:

  • Wat Lat Phrao
  • Wat Saket temple (Golden Mount)
  • Wat Phra Dhammakaya: World’s largest temple 

Buddhists make merit-earning activities to earn blessings and boost their karma, which determines how high or low they go in future life cycles.

According to the Thai Government, the 2023 festival falls on February 6th, 2023. 

Most activities will take place between February 5th and 7th.

Tips and Tricks for Makha Bucha Day In Thailand 

Makha Bucha Day falls on the full moon of the third lunar month. In other words, it usually happens in February or March each year. It’s important to note that the date of Makha Bucha Day changes from year to year, depending on the lunar cycle.

  • The majority of Thai people will likely take time off work to celebrate Makha Bucha Day. So, if you are visiting from outside, plan your visit during this time accordingly.
  • Banks, shopping malls, and other public offices are mostly open on this national holiday.
  • Moreover, don’t try to find the sale of alcohol on this public holiday. The Thai Government has banned alcohol sales on Religious holidays across the country.
  • Furthermore, try not to be noisy in temples and follow the decorum of the Holly sights.

The History of Buddhism In Thailand’s Culture

Buddhism is the religion of mental emancipation and is closely interwoven with Thailand’s culture and history.

Buddhist teachings are universal and relevant to everyday life, making Thai society a vital part.

Historically On Makha Bucha Day, Buddhists celebrate the basic Buddhist principles such as karma and reincarnation.

The date is significant in Thai culture since it marks three crucial days of the year.

The full moon day marks an important date on the lunar calendar. Buddhists celebrate by offering alms to monks and making merit-earning activities.

  • Makha Bucha Day is the Buddhist day where the Buddha gave his first teachings. According to what is written in Buddhists scriptures, this took place when he invited 1,250 monks to meet him under a banyan tree near the city of Gaya (India), so he could teach them Dharma (religion or righteousness).
  • The day also marks when the Buddha passed on his spiritual lineage to other monks, making this a significant day in Buddhist teachings.
  • The full moon date, which falls on the third lunar month, is typically between mid-February and mid-March of the Western calendar. The date changes every day; for instance, Makha Bucha Day will be celebrated next year on March 6, 2023.
  • As Buddhists believe that life is an endless cycle of rebirths, it’s considered essential to be mindful throughout the day, ensuring no evil or wrongdoing accompanies words or actions.
  • Monks usually stay up all night, practicing meditation and praying for enlightenment in preparation for making their spiritual journey.

Other Religious Festivals Of Buddhism

Makha Bucha Day isn’t the only Buddhist festival celebrated in Thailand. There are a lot of different festivals, some based on Thai lunar calendars and others tied to world events.

The Waisak Festival commemorates what Buddhists believe is when Siddharta Gautama attained enlightenment under a pipal tree for 30 consecutive nights. This usually falls around May or June of the Western calendar.

Cin Tak is a festival that commemorates the first sermon given by Gautama. Depending on the new moon date, it usually falls between May and July of the Western calendar.

Pavarana Day was marked when Gautama gave his last teachings before he passed away at 80 years old. This usually happens between October and November of the Western calendar.

The Buddhist Lent is a period of abstinence from worldly pursuits that lasts for three months. This festival is based on the lunar calendar and generally falls between November and January of the Western calendar.

The Colorful Buddhist Festivals Of Thailand

Buddhist festivals are an important part of Thai culture. Thais get involved by dressing up in traditional clothing, making food offerings, decorating their homes with lanterns, and attending parades.

Thai people celebrate these festivals by respecting monks, who are seen as embodiments of Buddhist teachings. Buddhists also make merit-earning activities during these times, such as visiting temples or donating food to the poor.

What is the significance of the Full Moon in Buddhism?

In Buddhism, the moon plays a vital role as it governs the mind and emotions. The full moon day is a suitable time for Buddhist practitioners to perform meritorious deeds such as offering food and other requisites to monks.

By doing so, lay Buddhists can accumulate specific blessings or punna and eventually go to heaven or deva Loka.

Buddhists will usually distribute food and drinks to the monks throughout the day.

As for offerings made at night, these often consist of candle lightings, lamps, and flowers.

Monks may also recite Buddhist scriptures and Buddhist rituals written in the Pali language.

Thai Public Holidays 2022

There are many public and Religious holidays in Thailand. Most businesses and services will be closed the day before and after. Public Holidays in Thailand for 2022 are:

  • Chakri Memorial Day: Wednesday, April 6, 2022
  • Songkran: 13-15 April 2022
  • Labour Day: May 1, 2022
  • Coronation of King Maha Vajiralongkorn: Wednesday, May 4, 2022
  • H.M Queen Suthida Bajrasudhabimalalakshana’s Birthday: Friday, June 3, 2022
  • Asalha PujaLikely: Wednesday, July 13, 2022
  • Beginning of Buddhist Lent: Thursday, July 14, 2022
  • H.M. King Maha Vajiralongkorn Phra Vajiraklaochaoyuhua’s Birthday: Thursday, July 28, 2022
  • H.M. Queen Sirikit The Queen Mother’s Birthday: Friday, August 12, 2022
  • H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej The Great Memorial Day: Thursday, October 13, 2022
  • Chulalongkorn Memorial Day: Monday, 23 Oct 2022
  • Father’s Day: Monday, December 5, 2022
  • H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej The Great’s Birthday: Monday, 5 Dec 2022
  • Constitution Day: Monday, December 10, 2022
  • New Year’s Eve: Saturday, December 31, 2022

Conclusion 

If you’re in Thailand or plan to visit anytime during the year and want to know what days are essential, this article should have helped you. You’ll learn about festivals that fall during the Thai calendar so you can plan accordingly. If any of these holidays happen to land on a weekday when your business is closed or open late, make sure to check with your employees before making final decisions. If there’s anything else we didn’t cover here or need clarification, please let us know in the comments section! Keep following Phuket Fm Radio for daily updates on all you need to know!

Q&A Section 

Q: When is Makha Bucha Day?

The Buddhist festival of Makha Bucha falls on Wednesday, April 6, 2022. and in 2023 Monday 6th February and in 2024 Saturday the 24th February with a public holiday on the 26th of February.

Q: What is the significance of Makha Bucha?

A: Makha Bucha commemorated when Gautama Buddha gave his last teachings before he passed away.

Q: What do Buddhists do during Makha Bucha?

A: Buddhists perform meritorious deeds such as visiting temples or donating food to the poor. They may also recite Buddhist scriptures and rituals.

During the celebrations, temples display many different art and handicrafts representing the Buddhist era. The exhibits also include traditional items such as hand-woven fabrics and Buddhist clothing.

Inside the temples, there are many paintings and sculptures of Buddha figures. Monks will also dress up in their traditional robes and hold essential ceremonies for the occasion. Other people dress up in traditional clothing and perform merit-making acts with monks during these special events.

Q: What are some public holidays in Thailand?

A: Chakri Memorial Day, Songkran, Labour Day, Coronation of King Maha Vajiralongkorn, Coronation Day, H.M Queen Suthida Bajrasudhabimalalakshana’s Birthday, Asalha PujaLikely, Beginning of VassaLikely, H.M. King Maha Vajiralongkorn Phra Vajiraklaochaoyuhua’s Birthday, H.M. Queen Sirikit The Queen Mother’s Birthday, H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej The Great Memorial Day, Chulalongkorn Memorial Day, Father’s Day, H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej The Great’s Birthday, Constitution Day, New Year’s Eve are all public holidays in Thailand for 2022.

Q: Where can I find information on public holidays in Thailand?

A: Phuket FM Radio provides a list of public holidays in Thailand. Please take a look at our calendar.