Visakha Bucha Day falls on Friday, May 20 this year, when 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. The devout Buddhists walk three times around the principle chapel clockwise, each clasping three incense sticks, a lighted candle and lotus buds. 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.
Visakha Bucha is a Buddhist holiday, so across the country, alcohol sales is prohibited 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, Asanha Bucha Day, Khao Pansa and Wan Org Pansa days. (See story here.)