Bangkok– The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is inviting local and international tourists to join one of the world’s most unique Makha Bucha Day celebrations in the province of Kalasin in Thailand’s Northeastern region or Isan. This year, the event runs from 1-10 February.
Makha Bucha Day is the anniversary of a special event that took place nine months after Buddha achieved enlightenment. In modern times and based on the Buddhist lunar calendar, the day falls on the full moon day of the 3rdlunar month (February).
Thai Buddhists celebrate Makha Bucha by beginning the day (like most days) by offering food to monks in the morning. Thai people also prepare food to deliver to monks at the temples, or to visit temples to hear Buddhist sermons in the afternoon. In the evening, temples will hold a flower and candle procession. Devoted Thai Buddhists walk in a clockwise direction making three circuits to remind themselves of the Buddha and his teachings.
In Kalasin, one of the province’s unique Makha Bucha Day celebrations is held annually at the ancient Phrathat Yakhu in Kamalasai district. Phrathat Yakhu, an octagonal-shaped stupa built from bricks, is the largest chedi in the province’s ancient town of Fa Daet Song Yang. It is surrounded by boundary markers carved with bas reliefs of the Buddha’s story. Local people believe that it stores the bones of a respected senior monk. Given the stupa’s unique history, many sacred rituals and ceremonies are held here.
This year, among the highlights of the 10-day Makha Bucha Day celebration at Phrathat Yakhu are a spectacular procession and display of over 1,000 traditional Isan flags or ‘thung’, along with the ritual paying respect to the stupa that includes a traditional dance to worship the stupa by 2,563 dancers, a light-and-sound show, the lighting of 10,000 candles, and the night procession to pay respect to the Buddha, and the Prathat Yakhu Mini Marathon.
The opening ceremony takes place on 1 February, from 16.00 Hrs., with the mass traditional dance by 2,563 dancers taking place after 17.00 Hrs. The light-and-sound show on the history of the Fa Daet Song Yang ancient town is scheduled at 18.00 Hrs. followed by the candle procession. In the morning, there is also a mass merit-making ceremony in the ancient Fa Daet Song Yang style, at 06.00 Hrs.
From 1-10 February, from 09.00 Hrs. onwards, daily activities include traditional Isan flag workshops, ancient market fair, exhibitions of the Fa Daet Song Yang ancient town, the story of ‘thung’, and displays of 18 ancient houses from 18 districts across Kalasin. A daily traditional dance to worship the stupa by 100 dancers is at 17.00 Hrs. and local folk dances at 18.30 Hrs.
On 8 February, at 19.00 Hrs. there will be the lighting of 10,000 candles and the candle procession.
The Prathat Yakhu Mini Marathon takes place on 2 February, at 06.00 Hrs.