Buddhists in Mae Hong Son and Thailand are all set to commemorate one of the most important holy days on their annual calendar. The 11 February is Makha Bucha Day and marks the historic day more than 2,500 years ago when 1,250 disciples were ordained as the first Buddhist Arhants Enlightened Ones by Buddha.
The Lord Buddha taught these initial disciples the principles of the Buddhist religion. The core concepts are to do no evil, to do and be good, and to have a clean and pure mind. People in Thailand and other nations which follow the precepts of the Theravada branch of Buddhism mark Makha Bucha Day by visits to their local temples and making merit with alms to monks.
They also try to be as good as possible and not drink any alcohol on the day. At some temples, the tradition of Wien Tien is a pleasing sight. Wien Tien means going around (wien) the temple’s main chapel with candles (tien). People do this three times once darkness has fallen and the sight is almost surreal.
Makha Bucha is dictated by lunar cycles and is not on the same day every year. It is held on the full moon day of the third lunar month. This means Makha Bucha Day is usually in February and will fall on the 11 February 2017, but it is on the 1 March in 2018.