Makha Bucha Day

Cambodia Thailand Buddhist Holiday observed in Cambodia and Thailand

Golden buddha at Buddha Memorial park

When is Makha Bucha Day?

Year Thailand
2017 February 11th
2016 February 22nd
2015 March 4th
2014 February 14th
2013 February 25th
2012 March 7th
Year Cambodia
2017 March 12th
2016 February 22nd
2015 February 3rd
2014 February 14th

Maka Bucha is a national Holiday in Thailand. The date depends on Lunar cycle. The holiday may also be known as Magha Puja.

On this day, the full moon of the third lunar month (called Tabodwe); seven months after Buddha began his teachings, 1,250 monks gathered to hear Buddha preach.

Buddha ordained these monks and spread the principles of Buddhism. This marked a key event in the development of the religion.

45 years later, on the same full moon in the third lunar month, Buddha again delivered his teachings shortly before his death.

This third lunar month on which both events occurred is known in Buddhist Pali language as 'Makha'. 'Bucha', means to honour.

Despite the great age of these events, (Buddha was teaching over 2,500 years ago) Makha Bucha only became a holiday in 1957. Prior to 1957, the third lunar month was celebrated as a Buddhist Holy Day.

How is Maka Bucha Day celebrated?

In the morning many Thai people wake up early to give alms to monks. In the evening, temples are full of people listening to sermons. They often perform a ritual known as the the candle ceremony where they walk clockwise three times around the temple. holding flowers, incense and a lighted candle.

In Thailand, the sale of alcohol is banned on religious holidays. This means bars and clubs are closed for the entire holiday.


Also a public holiday in Lao and Cambodia. The date may differ in these countries due to the local lunar calendars used. In Cambodia, the holiday is known as Meak Bochea.

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