The holiest of all Buddhist holidays is commemorated on the full-moon day of the sixth lunar month (known as the Visakha month) which normally falls in May. Three defining events in the life of the Lord Buddha all took place on the Visakha full-moon day: he was born, 35 years later he achieved enlightenment and 45 years after enlightenment he died and entered Nirvana. The picture on the right is of a Reclining Buddha statue in Chiang Mai which depicts the Buddha entering Nirvana.
Visakha Bucha Day* is a public holiday in Thailand and an important family occasion for Thai Buddhists who will visit the temple and make merit. It’s also a day when many Buddhists will make an extra effort to uphold the Five Precepts of Buddhist teachings which include abstinence from alcohol. Some bars and clubs are closed for the day whilst those that do remain open may keep the music at low levels and resort to serving alcohol in a very discreet manner (i.e. pouring beer into tea cups).
*(Because of the way Thai is translated into English, Visakha Bucha may also be written as Visakha Puja and various other combinations.)