Makha Bucha Day in Thailand

On this day, the full moon of the third lunar month; seven months after Buddha began his teachings, 1,250 monks gathered to hear Buddha preach. Buddha ordained these monks and spread the principles of Buddhism. This marked a key event in the development of the religion.

45 years later, on the same full moon in the third lunar month, Buddha again delivered his teachings shortly before his death.

This third lunar month on which both events occurred is known in Buddhist Pali language as 'Makha'. 'Bucha', means to honour.

Despite the great age of these events, Buddha was teaching over 2,500 years ago; Makha Bucha only became a holiday in 1957. Prior to 1957, the third lunar month was celebrated as a Buddhist Holy Day.

In the morning many Thai people wake up early to give alms to monks. In the evening, temples are full of people listening to sermons. They often perform a ritual known as the the candle ceremony where they walk clockwise three times around the temple. holding flowers, incense and a lighted candle.