Banks and government offices closed, no alcohol in stores
Wednesday, May 26, is one of the most venerated holidays on the Buddhist calendar: Visakha Bucha Day. Government offices, banks and many businesses will be closed. However, if they haven’t already been closed due to the pandemic third wave, some bank branches in shopping malls may be open to cater to foreign exchange, and most exchange booths throughout the city could be open.
This Buddhist Holy Day marks the beginning of the Buddhist Era 2564 years ago, and celebrates the miracle of the Buddha being born, reaching enlightenment, passing away, and achieving final release from the circle of rebirth, all on the same date.
Under normal circumstances, devout Buddhists participate in ceremonies at nearby temples, making merit in the morning by bringing alms to monks and listening to sermons. In the evening, devotees would continue assembling at temples to conduct the “Wien Thien” ceremony, walking around sacred temple grounds three times holding candles, joss sticks and flowers honoring the Buddha, the Dharma (Buddha’s teachings) and the Sangha (the Buddhist Monastic Order).
This year like the last, anti-Covid-19 measures are in force. Check with your local temple for details.
For this holiday, killing any kind of animal and drinking alcohol or intoxicating substances is forbidden. Wats are to be adorned with lanterns, flowers and joss sticks as symbols of worship.
Although the restrictions placed on the country due to Covid-19 already does so, the law always prohibits the sale of alcohol on Makha Bucha Day, Visakha Bucha Day, Asalaha Bucha Day and Buddhist Lent holidays; therefore, not only will all bars and entertainment venues remain closed, but no alcohol may be bought or sold in stores.