All government offices will be closed this coming Thursday (Mar 1) as Thais all across the country celebrate Makha Bucha day. The sale of alcohol is banned by law on this day.
The event marks the anniversary of the Buddha’s first major sermon. On the full moon of the third lunar month, seven months after the lord Buddha began his teachings when 1,250 monks came together, with no prior arrangement to hear Buddha preach, Buddha ordained these monks and passed to them the basic principles of Buddhism: To eschew all evil, to do only what is good, and to cleanse the mind, along with other teachings which marked a key event in the development of the religion.
Many Thais will start the day by giving alms to monks in the morning and in the evening, people will fill the temples to listen to sermons and partake in the candlelight ceremony known as wien tein where they walk clockwise three times around the temple holding flowers, incense and a lit candle.
Popular temples to visit on Makha Bucha are Wat Chalong, Wat Phra Thong, Wat Khao Rang, Phuket Big Buddha, Wat Mai Luang Pu Supha, and Wat Srisoonthorn.
According to an announcement made by the Prime Minister’s office on January 22, 2015, there are five religious days that prohibit the sale of alcohol.
The five days are; Makha Bucha, Visakha Bucha, Arsarnraha Bucha, Khao Pansa and Wan Org Pansa days. This announcement bans the sale of alcohol everywhere except duty free shops at International airports.
Post Offices on the island will be open until noon. However, banks in shopping malls will remain open as normal.
Government offices such as the Immigration, District Offices and the local Department of Land Transportation office will all be closed, as will main branches of banks, but with some bank branches in shopping malls remaining open.
All Royal Thai Police and Tourist Police stations will remain open and some local consulates will be open to serve their respective citizens.
The Class Act Media offices will be closed on Thursday (Mar 1) to mark the Makha Bucha public holiday – but will re-open on Friday (Mar 2).
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