Pattaya to observe Visakha Bucha Day on May 22; governmental offices closed, alcohol sales prohibited

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The alcohol ban will come into effect starting from Tuesday midnight until the end of Wednesday whereas violators could face a jail term of no more than 6 months or a maximum fine of 10,000 THB or both.

Wednesday, May 22, is one of the most venerated holidays on the Buddhist calendar: Visakha Bucha Day. This Buddhist Holy Day marks the beginning of the Buddhist Era 2,567 years ago, and celebrates the miracle of the Buddha being born, reaching enlightenment and passing away and achieving final release from the circle of rebirth or Nirvana, all on the same date.

Devout Buddhists participate in ceremonies at nearby temples, making merit in the morning by bringing alms to monks and listening to sermons. Later in the evening devotees will 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).


Worshipers are in calm and meditative state as they remember Buddha’s compassion and his teaching on evil and righteousness. After the walk, people sit to listen to the Dharma preached by monks and receive sprinkled blessing of holy water for good fortune.

Visakha Bucha means the worship of the Buddha on the day of the full moon in the sixth lunar month, which usually falls in May. Sri Lanka proposed to the UNESCO meeting on December 15, 1999, that Visakha Bucha Day be recognized as the most important Memorial Day in Buddhism and marked as a “World Heritage Day”. Thailand, which is the permanent location of the World Fellowship of Buddhists, was chosen to always host and celebrate this day.


Devout Buddhists participate in ceremonies at nearby temples, making merit in the morning by bringing alms to monks and listening to sermons.

For this holiday, killing any kind of animal and drinking alcohol or intoxicating substances is forbidden for 3 days. Temples are to be adorned with lanterns, flowers and joss sticks as symbols of worship, and fireworks will be lit for three days to celebrate.

Banks outside shopping malls and government offices are closed for this holiday. The government is asking that no alcohol be served on this day, and that all bars and entertainment venues close for 1 day.

Strict control over the sales of alcohol is imposed the whole day of Wednesday May 22.




The Department of Disease Control in collaboration with the local police will visit stores across the country to make sure no alcohol is sold on Visakha Bucha Day. Fines will be immediately made on the spot if any stores are found in violation of the rule.

Minimarts, shopping malls and grocery shops can expect a visit from the authorities on the night. According to the Alcohol Act, no alcoholic drinks should be sold on this religious day on any venues except hotels. The law will come into effect starting from Tuesday midnight until the end of Wednesday. Violators could face a jail term of no more than 6 months or a maximum fine of 10,000 THB or both.



Later in the evening devotees will 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).
Visakha Bucha means the worship of the Buddha on the day of the full moon in the sixth lunar month, which usually falls in May. (File Photo – Monks arrive by boat to receive alms at Pattaya’s Floating Market)