Meak Bochea in Cambodia in 2020

Meak Bochea in Cambodia in 2020
A group of monks at Preah Pithu U, Angkor, Siem Reap, Cambodia Image by JJ Harrison
  How long until Meak Bochea?
This holiday next takes place in 208 days.
  Dates of Meak Bochea in Cambodia
2021Cambodia Sat, Feb 27National Holiday
2020Cambodia Sun, Feb 9National Holiday
2019Cambodia Tue, Feb 19National Holiday
2018Cambodia Wed, Jan 31National Holiday
2017Cambodia Sat, Feb 11National Holiday
  Summary
Shortly after Buddha began his teachings, 1250 monks gathered to hear Buddha preach.
Related holidays

When is Meak Bochea?

Meak Bochea 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. In Cambodia it takes places on the full moon of the third Khmer lunar month (called Meak).

The holiday may also be known as Buddha’s Preachment Commemoration Ceremony.

The date of this holiday in Cambodia may differ from other Mekong region countries due to how the lunar calendar is used.

History of Meak Bochea

On this day, 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.

As mentioned the third lunar month on which both events occurred is known as 'Meak'. 'Bochea', means to honour.

How is Meak Bochea Day celebrated?

In the morning many people wake up early to give alms to monks and take part in rituals such as the freeing of birds at Oudong Mountain.

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.

At eight in the evening at Oudong Mountain, a holy site that is believed to house the remains of the Buddha, crowds will gather to release lanterns into the sky.

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