In most parts of the island it will also be a no-alcohol day. Although compliance is technically voluntary, a ban on the sale or serving of alcohol for 24 hours from midnight on Thursday is interpreted with different degrees of zeal by various authorities.
Makha Bucha Day marks the anniversary of the Buddha’s first major sermon.
On a full moon some 2,500 years ago, 1,250 Arahants – men worthy of veneration for their understanding – came together, with no prior arrangement, to visit the Buddha at Veluwan temple.
The Buddha ordained them as 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.
Devout Buddhists traditionally make a special effort to go to the wat on this day to perform merit-making ceremonies.
There are many temples in Phuket to visit for this occasion. The most popular temples are Wat Chalong, Wat Phra Thong, Wat Khao Rang, Phuket Big Buddha, Wat Mai Luang Pu Supha, and Wat Srisoonthorn.
Government offices will all be closed with the exception of the three district registration offices which will be working flat out to register marriages on Valentine’s Day.