Makha Bucha Day

Cambodia Buddhist Holiday observed in several countries

Golden buddha at Buddha Memorial park

When is Maka Bucha?

Dates of Makha Bucha Day
Year Thailand
2020 March 9th
2019 February 19th
2018 March 1st
2017 February 11th
Dates of Meak Bochea Day
Year Cambodia
2020 February 9th
2019 February 19th
2018 January 31st
2017 February 11th
Dates of Full Moon Day of Tabaung
Year Myanmar
2020 March 9th
2019 March 20th
2018 March 1st
2017 March 12th

Maka Bucha is a public holiday in several Mekong region countries such as Cambodia and Thailand.

The date of this important Buddhist festival 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, over a thousand 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.

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. Each of the three circuits represents one of the three jewels (ideas at the heart of Buddhism) - Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.


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

In Thailand, the sale of alcohol is banned on religious holidays. This means bars and clubs are closed for the entire holiday. If Maka Bucha falls on a weekend, a substitute holiday will be observed on the following Monday. Similar restrictions on the sale of alcohol will also apply on this day.


In Myanmar, Maka Bucha is known as the Full Moon Day of Tabaung. Tabaung is the last month of the year in the Burmese calendar. The holiday is marked by pagoda festivals with the largest taking place at the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangdon.


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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