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Major Buddhist holiday brings alcohol ban to Phuket

PHUKET: The major Buddhist holiday Visakha Bucha Day will be honoured this Wednesday (May 10), while this Friday (May 12) marks another national public holiday with the auspicious activities for Royal Ploughing Ceremony Day.

culture, alcohol, religion, tourism,


The Phuket News

Monday 8 May 2017, 09:43AM


The sale of alcohol is banned for 24 hours on Wednesday, from midnight to midnight.
The sale of alcohol is banned for 24 hours on Wednesday, from midnight to midnight.

On Wednesday, most of government offices will be closed, and as Visakha Bucha Day is a holy day, all shops, bars and restaurants are barred from selling alcohol for 24 hours from midnight at the start of Wednesday to midnight on the close of Wednesday.

Each year on Visakha Bucha Day, Buddhists all over the world commemorate three great events on this full moon of the sixth lunar month: The birth, enlightenment and the passing away of Gautama Buddha.

Devout Buddhists will rise early and go to temples to make merit and listen to sermons on the Buddha’s teachings.

After sunset, candle-lit processions will take place at major temples throughout the country, with devout Buddhists walking clockwise three times around the principal chapel while clasping three incense sticks, a lighted candle and lotus buds. During the “wiang tian” candle processions, the air is filled with burning incense and smoke from the candles as the faithful complete this most sacred of Buddhist celebrations.

On this day, most government offices on the island will be closed, including Phuket Immigration Office, the Employment Office, the Land Transport Office and the island’s three District Offices.

All main bank branches will be closed, but branches in shopping centres will remain open.

All Royal Thai Police and Tourist Police stations will remain open and some local consulates will be open to serve their respective citizens.

Alcohol sales is prohibited across the country, except at duty-free shops at the airport.

According to an announcement by the Prime Minister’s Office on January 22, 2015, the sale of alcohol is prohibited on five specific religious days: Makha Bucha, Visakha Bucha, Asarnha Bucha Day, Khao Pansa and Wan Org Pansa days.

Then come Friday (May 12), marking the beginning of a long weekend for many Thais, the traditional Royal Ploughing Ceremony activities will be held at Bangkok’s Sanam Luang in front of the Grand Palace.

The ceremonies are held on this day, officially known as Wan Phra Ratcha Phithi Phuet Monkhon Lae Charot Phra Nangkhan Raek Na Khwan, to give blessings to the country’s farmers.

In short the day is also known simply as Farmer’s Day (Wan Phuet Mongkhon).

The date for these celebrations is astrologically-determined each year and announced by the Bureau of the Royal Household. A government holiday only, this ceremony revives an ancient blessing of the plants and ceremonial start to the new growing season.

Alcohol sales is allowed on Royal Ploughing Ceremony Day, and main branches of banks will be open.


The Class Act Media office will be open on Visakha Bucha Day on Wednesday (May 10), but will be closed this Friday (May 12) to observe the national public holiday.

 

 

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