Meak Bochea in Cambodia in 2024

Meak Bochea in Cambodia in 2024
A group of monks at Preah Pithu U, Angkor, Siem Reap, Cambodia Image by JJ Harrison
  How long until Meak Bochea?
There are no upcoming dates for this event
  Dates of Meak Bochea in Cambodia
2019 Cambodia Tue, Feb 19 National Holiday
2018 Cambodia Wed, Jan 31 National Holiday
2017 Cambodia Sat, Feb 11 National Holiday
2016 Cambodia Mon, Feb 22 National Holiday
2015 Cambodia Tue, Feb 3 National Holiday

Shortly after Buddha began his teachings, 1250 monks gathered to hear Buddha preach.

Related holidays

When is Meak Bochea?

Meak Bochea is a Buddhist Festival in several Mekong region countries such as Cambodia and Thailand. The date of this important Buddhist festival depends on the 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.

Meak Bocha was removed from the list of Public Holidays in Cambodia in a shake-up in 2020 to reduce the number of holidays from 28 to 22.

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 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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