Pattaya Buddhists made merit and paraded with candles as the area celebrated Makha Bucha Day.
Temples throughout the city saw worshippers present offerings of meat, dried foods and desserts to monks, 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.
At temples across Pattaya, Nongprue and Huay Yai, Thais and foreigners gave alms with monks performing water-pouring ceremonies and addressing the five precepts while blessing worshipers. In the evening, patrons joined in candlelight processions around sermon halls and temple grounds.
With Pattaya’s bars closed and the alcohol bottles capped for the day, the atmosphere in the city was quiet and solemn. But some temples used the occasion for fairs, with families joining to buy food and enjoy games and music under the full moon.
Nongprue got a jump on the holiday, organizing a Buddhist study program for students from Tungkom Tanman School at Samakkee Pracharam Temple. Sub-district Deputy Mayor Anak Pattanangam opened the pre-holiday session, saying it was organized to encourage youths to carry on the culture and strengthen awareness of virtue and ethics to be used in daily life.
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.
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.