Saturday, July 24th 2021 is Asalha Bucha day. Sunday, July 25th, is the start of Buddhist Lent. Monday, July 26th, is a public holiday as these days fall on a weekend. Only Saturday and Sunday are alcohol ban days, alcohol will be allowed on Monday, as it is a “makeup” day and not a religious day.
Asalha Bucha, also known as Asalha Puja, is the day that marks when over 2500 years ago Lord Buddha delivered his first sermon at Benares in India. The exact date for this festival is decided by the waxing moon and the lunar months which typically comes up in July according to the Thai lunar calendar.
It is an auspicious day and brings out all the people to their nearest temples to celebrate the occasion.
Asalha Bucha Day is a public holiday.
An annual festival is celebrated in the wet season in July on the first full moon in accordance with the Thai Lunar calendar while it varies in the Gregorian Calendar. This event is one of the most important festivals of Thailand and is celebrated on a full moon night because Buddha himself was born during a full moon.
In a time where more and more millennials are backpacking across the globe and learning about the various cultures, Thailand is a must-visit. Attracting the majority of the tourists during this festival season, go and experience the Asalha Puja celebration first hand.
Like most of the festivals in Thailand, the people start the Asalha Bucha day by visiting their local ‘Wat’ (temple) mainly for merit-making ceremonies.
The size and number of people attending this ceremony depend upon the size of the temple.
It is a simple celebration known as ‘wian tian’ starting with the chantings of the monks and preaching the first sermon while the followers kneel and bow as instructed. This is also a good time for many young Thai men to enter monkhood.
Wan Khao Phansa or Buddhist lent day
Buddhist lent day, is the day after the Asalha Bucha day. It takes place during the wet season and is the start of an auspicious three-month annual retreat, observed by Buddhist practitioners.
Also known as “Lent Commencement Day” it is the period of spiritual renewal where all the monks retreat to the temple and don’t leave it for the next three months. They devote this time to study and meditate within the temple grounds.
It is also a public holiday, but the banks are not closed. It is also a ‘no alcohol day’ in Thailand. People also make an effort and abstain from eating meat or tobacco at least for the day if not for three months.
Look out for other Asalha Bucha events around Phuket and Thailand. Some temples hold special ceremonies that may not be advertised.
The reception staff at your hotel are often a good source of local information. Show respect to this Thai tradition and enjoy the culture.