Makha Bucha Day (วันมาฆบูชา) is a Buddhist holiday, which takes place annually on the night of the full moon during the third lunar month of the year. “Makha” is the Pali word for the third Lunar month, while “bucha” means to honor or to venerate. Since Makha Bucha is based on the lunar calendar, the date varies from year to year. This year Makha Bucha day is on 11 February 2017. It was 9 full months after the Buddha got the Enlightenment, on the full moon day of 6th lunar month, 45 years before the Buddhist era. On the full moon day of the 3rd lunar month, Makha, of the year.
Four special events happened:
1. There were 1,250 Sangha followers decided to come back to see Lord Buddha at Weluwan Wannaram without prior appointment after traveling around and teaching Buddhism.
2. All of them were “อรหันต์ Arhantas’, the Enlightened One, and all of them were ordained by the Buddha himself.
3. Because it was the first assembly of the large group of the Buddhist monk gathering therefore the Buddha gave those Arhantas the three principles of the Buddhism, called “The Ovadhapatimokha” which is considered the first constitution for all the laws of Buddhist monks from then until now.
4. It was the full moon day.
The 3 cores principles (the Ovadhapatimokha) are:
1. Refrain from commiting all kind of wickeness (ไม่ทำความชั่ว)
2. Be good and do good (ทำความดีทั้งทางกาย วาจา และใจ)
3. Purify the mind (ทำจิตใจให้บริสุทธิ์)
History: Thailand started celebrating Makha Bucha Day during the reign of King Rama IV, around 150 years ago. King Rama IV felt that Buddhist teachings were very important, recognising that Makha Bucha was one of the most remarkable events in Buddhist history. His Majesty therefore introduced the first celebration of Makha Bucha Day to his royal family members and courtiers. The celebration soon gained popularity among Siamese commoners.
Activities To Be Observed:
ทำบุญ/ tam-bun/: Making merit by going to temples for special observances, making merit, listening to Dhamma preaching, giving some donations and the other activities of the day include acts of merit such as freeing fish and birds.
รับศีล /ráp sĕen/: Keeping the Five Precepts*, including abstinence from alcoholic drinks and all kinds of immoral acts, including listening to teachings of Buddhism and the practice of meditation (nâng sà-maa-tí นั่งสมาธิ)
ตักบาตร /dtàk bàat/: Offering food to the monks and novices (in the alm bowl (บาตร /bàat/).
เวียนเทียน /wain tain/: Monks and other believers of the Buddhist philosophy hold candlelit processions with monks who also hold a sacred thread in a procession around the temple.Buddhists from across the cities throughout the country flock to temples to participate in these processions.