As is customary for several Thai religious holidays, alcohol sales will be banned across the country tomorrow (Sunday) for Visakha Bucha Day. The day, the most important in the Buddhist calendar, commemorates 3 defining events in the life of Lord Buddha. These include his birth, reaching enlightenment at age 35, and then his death 45 years later, all of which occurred on the full moon day of the sixth lunar month.
Like other Buddhist holidays, such as Makha Bucha Day, Thais will attend ceremonies at temples across the country. After sunset, many temple attendees will walk 3 times clockwise around the main temple building, while holding 3 incense sticks, a lit candle, and lotus buds.
At the temple, people also listen to sermons on Buddha’s teachings, meditate, recommit to following the precepts of Buddhism, and offer food to temple workers. Some also release birds or fish to eliminate “negative karma”.
Anyone caught violating the ban on the sale of alcohol on Visakha Bucha Day faces 6 months in jail, a fine of 10,000 baht, or both. The same goes for 4 other religious holidays in Thailand namely Makha Bucha Day, Asarnha Bucha Day, Khao Pansa Day and Wan Org Pansa Day.
Many non-Buddhists might see the holiday as just another drag on their enjoyment, on top of Thailand’s already strict enforcement of curfew hours for alcohol because of Covid-19 restrictions. But if you’re a fan of Thai culture, they can be an opportunity to learn more about history and traditions.
Buddha was born in India around 2,500 years ago as a wealthy prince, but he left this life of luxury to seek the wisdom of the wise hermits who lived in the woods scattered throughout the region at the time. He felt disappointed, however, and instead meditated under a Bodhi tree. There, he is believed to have attained enlightenment at the age of 35 and formulated the basic principles of Buddhism.
Later, at age 80, he died. Buddhists believe that he then entered the state of “nirvana” and escaped all suffering, death and reincarnation.
THE SOURCE: Phuket News