Buddhists flocked to Pattaya temples Wednesday to observe a Makha Bucha Day as close to “normal” as they’d seen in three years.
Believers began flowing into Wat Chaimongkol Royal Monastery on South Road early Feb. 16 to give alms and light candles. Activity will continue into the night.
Prarajasarn Sophon Deputy Dean of Chonburi and Abbot Wat Chaimongkol Royal Monastery said that after festivals and candle processions were canceled last year due to Covid-19, high vaccination levels and strict precautions allowed the temple to offer a “new normal” experience for this year’s holiday.
Street vendors were given booths rent-free to sell their wares and people celebrated the holiday wearing face masks and trying to maintain a semblance of social distancing.
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 Veluvana grove near Rajagaha in northern 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.