Makha Bucha Day is a Buddhist holiday celebrated in Thailand. It is based on the Buddhist Lunar Calendar and comes in February or March on the Gregorian Calendar. The celebration is held during the third lunar month of the year because Buddha is said to have delivered certain of his teachings at this time.
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On this day long ago in India, 1,250 of Buddha’s followers came to see him on their own initiative without a scheduled meeting. All of these followers were said to be “enlightened ones” whom Buddha himself then ordained as teachers. He gave them the main, core teachings of Buddhism to pass on. These teachings were: cease from evil, do good, and cleanse your mind.
Over 40 years later, on this same day, it is said that Buddha made the decision to reach “Nirvana,” which means the mind departing from the body and the body dying. It was three months later, on Visakha Bucha Day, when this happened.
In Thailand, people go to Buddhist temples on Makha Bucha Day to take part in rites and to “earn merit.” They may also abstain from alcoholic beverages, give food offerings to monks, meditate, and take part in a late-night candle procession.