Temples throughout the city saw worshippers make merit and parade with candles as the area celebrated Makha Bucha Day Feb. 8.
Alms were presented to monks throughout the city in the morning, offering meat, dried foods and desserts. Afterward, devout Buddhists visited their local temples to light candles and incense, lay flowers on statues of Lord Buddha and listen to sermons and meditate on one of the holiest Buddhist holidays of the year.
Some of the more popular temples included Wat Nong Aor in Central Pattaya, Wat Chaimongkol Royal Temple in South Pattaya, Wat Boonsamphan on Soi Khao Noy, Wat Thamsamakee in South Pattaya, Wat Photisampan in Naklua, at Wat Suttawas in Nongprue. However, these were by far not the only temples where people worshipped, as there are many more smaller wats sprinkled throughout the area and beyond.
In the evening, patrons joined in candlelight processions around sermon halls and temple grounds.
With the law prohibiting alcohol sales on major Buddhist holidays, the bars throughout Pattaya’s famous nightlight areas were dark, and many of the workers made the pilgrimage to their homes to worship and celebrate with their families.
Makha Bucha Day, considered Buddhism’s “All Saints Day,” commemorates the occasion when 1,250 disciples traveled to meet with Lord Buddha with no prearranged agreement at Weluwan Mahawiharn Temple in the area of Rachakhryha, India. Once there, the Buddha preached the principles of Buddhism, called the “Ovadhapatimokha”. Those principles are: To cease from all evil, to do what is good, and to cleanse one’s mind.
The day gained official recognition in Thailand during the reign of King Rama IV and became a nationally observed day with all government institutions closing down and observing the rituals associated with Buddhist commandments.