Visakha Bucha Day in Thailand in 2025

  How long until Visakha Bucha Day?
Visakha Bucha Day
  Dates of Visakha Bucha Day in Thailand
2025 Thailand Sun, May 11 National Holiday
2024 Thailand Wed, May 22 National Holiday
2023 Jun 3, Jun 5
ThailandMon, Jun 5National Holiday (in lieu)
ThailandSat, Jun 3National Holiday
2022 Thailand Mon, May 16 National Holiday
2021 Thailand Wed, May 26 National Holiday

Marks three key events in Buddhas life - his birthday, the enlightenment and his achievement of Nirvana

  Visakha Bucha Day in other countries
Visakha Bucha Day internationally

Visakha Bucha Day in Thailand

In Thailand, Buddha's birthday is known as Visakha Bucha Day.

When is Buddha Purnima?

Buddha Purnima is the most sacred day in the Buddhist calendar. It is the most important festival of the Buddhists and is celebrated with great enthusiasm.

The exact date of Vesak is the first full moon in the fourth month in the Chinese lunar calendar. The date varies from year to year in the Gregorian calendar but is typically in May.

Followers of Buddhism have been celebrating Buddhist festivals for centuries, but the decision to celebrate this day formally was only taken at the first conference of the World Fellowship of Buddhists held in Sri Lanka in 1950. 

Although Buddhists regard every full moon as sacred, the moon of the month of Vaisakh has special significance because on this day the Buddha was born, attained enlightenment (nirvana), and attained parinirvana (nirvana-after-death of the body) when he died.

Traditions of Buddha Purnima

Shakyamuni Buddha, the historical founder of Buddhism, was born in what is present-day Nepal over 3,000 years ago. There are various opinions concerning the exact dates of his birth and death, but according to Buddhist tradition, he is said to have been born April 8, 1029 BC and died on February 15, 949 BC, although other Buddhist scholars place his birth five hundred years later.

His mother, Maya, was the wife of Suddhodana, king of the Shakya clan. According to Buddhist lore, when she conceived, the queen dreamed that an auspicious white elephant entered her womb. A number of texts recount the child’s miraculous birth, detailing how the baby was received by the gods Indra and Brahma, and took seven steps soon after he was born. He is then believed to have received a cleansing bath from the gods, or dragon kings, depending on the country or culture where the legend originated.

Even though many Buddhists observe Buddha's historical birth on 8th April, the exact date remains in question. Although modern archaeological and historical research confirms that Prince Siddartha Gotama lived around this time.

On Buddha Purnima, people dress in white clothes and give out kheer (a rice pudding) as, according to legend, a woman named Sujata once offered Gautam Buddha kheer on his birthday and it has since become a tradition.

The dharmacakra or dharma wheel is a symbol often seen during Vesak. It is a wooden wheel with eight spokes. The wheel represents Buddha's teaching on the path to enlightenment. The eight spokes symbolize the noble eightfold path of Buddhism.

Visakha Bucha Day Customs in Thailand

Traditions on the day include visiting Buddhist temples and in particular ‘Wat Phra Kaeo’ which houses the Emerald Buddha and Sanam Luang. 

As per tradition, devout Buddhists wake up early on Visakha Bucha and head to temples to make merit and listen to sermons on the Buddha’s teachings.

After sunset, candle-lit processions take place at major temples, with devotees walking clockwise three times around the principal chapel while holding three incense sticks, a lighted candle, and lotus buds.

Buddhist ceremonies include the planting of a Holy Buddha Tree, known in Thai as Phra Sri Maha Bodhi.

Devout Buddhists believe that Gautama Buddha attained enlightenment (bodhi) while meditating underneath a fig tree, scientifically identified now as Ficus religiosa. This is why the tree is highly revered by Thai Buddhists and planted at temples. Some of the temple Bodhi trees in Thailand are several hundred years old and have trunks as big as six meters in diameter.

It is a holy day, so shops, bars and restaurants are barred from selling alcohol for 24 hours from midnight until midnight. All Government offices and many businesses will be closed. Schools and colleges may hang out yellow Buddhist flags to mark the day.

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