Makha Bucha is a Buddhist holiday which takes place annually on the night of the full moon during the third lunar month of the year.
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.
The sale of alcohol will be prohibited from midnight Feb 19 until midnight Feb 20. The penalty for selling alcohol on a banned day is up to six months in prison, a fine of up to B10,000, or both, under Section 39 of the Alcohol Control Act.
Post offices on the island will be open until noon, although 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.
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 Tuesday (Feb 19) to mark the Makha Bucha public holiday – but will re-open on Wednesday (Feb 20).