Showing posts with label Public holidays. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Public holidays. Show all posts

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Birthday of HM Queen Sirikit

12. August 2009 - Thailand is celebrating the birthday of HM Queen Sirikit, the world’s longest serving consort of a monarch, who celebrated her 77th birthday yesterday.

HM Queen Sirikit was born in 1932 and was married to HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej on April 28, 1950, only a week before the coronation of King Bhumibol.

Queen Sirikit also bears the title Queen Regent of Thailand, bestowed upon her after she served as Regent while King Bhumibol undertook a period of service as a Buddhist monk.

She is known for her charity work, which includes serving as honorary President of the Thai Red Cross.

Queen Sirikit received the UNICEF Recognition Award and the UNIFEM Award of Excellence in 1992 in recognition of her work fostering the role of Thai women.

August 12 is also Mothers Day in Thailand and a public holiday.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Buddhist Lent Day (Khao Pansa)

Buddhist Lent Day (Khao Pansa) - As the seasonal monsoon rains descend over the kingdom, it marks the beginning of the Buddhist "rain retreat" and the Buddhist Lent, or "Phansa", during which all Buddhist monks retreat to the temples. This is also an auspicious time for Buddhist ordinations as it marks a period of spiritual renewal.

Known as "Khao Phansa", the Buddhist Lent is a time devoted to study and meditation. Buddhist monks remain within the temple grounds and do not venture out for a period of three months starting from the first day of the waning moon of the eighth lunar month (in July) to the fifteenth day of the waxing moon of the eleventh lunar month (in October). In former times, this is done to prevent monks from trampling upon rice paddies when they venture out to receive offerings from the villagers.

Buddhism, Buddhist traditions and beliefs are central forces that shape the local way of life and give rise to various festivals of religious origin which have been observed for generations. For example, the majority of the Buddhist ordinations take place during the Buddhist Lent when young novices enter the monkhood. Villagers also actively engage in merit-making during this period. Offerings consisting of an assortment of savoury dishes and sweets as well as items for daily use are offered to monks. Items that provide light such as candles, lanterns and lamp oil are deemed to be particularly important offerings as it is believed that they provide monks with illumination physically and spiritually.

Many of these traditions have evolved into full-scale festivals featured in the Buddhist calendar and the kingdom's official calendar of festivals and events such as "The Candle Festival" of Ubon Ratchathani province, which features a procession of ornately-carved beeswax candles of various shapes and sizes, and the "Tak Bat Dok Mai" floral offering merit-making ritual that is unique to Saraburi province.

Asarnha Bucha Day

Asarnha Bucha means paying homage and worshiping on the day identified according to the Lunar calendar during the eighth month. In the Pali language, ‘Asanha’ is the name of the eighth month.

In Thailand, Asarnha Bucha Day (Asanha Puja Day) is public holiday. This day is particularly one of the most sacred days in Buddhism. It is a Buddhist festival which typically takes place in July, on the fifteenth day of the waxing moon of the eighth lunar month. It commemorates the day on which Lord Buddha delivered his first sermon called “the Dhammachakapavattana Sutta” to his first five chief disciples at the Deer Park in Benares more than two thousand five hundred years ago.
In the Buddha’s first sermon, there are mainly four great truths which lead to Nirvana
and are the foundation doctrines of Buddhism:
  1. Sorrow- All things are a source of suffering from the constant cycle of birth, disease, old age and death.
  2. Cause of sorrow- Desire or the inability to obtain what one desires is the cause of suffering resulting from cause and effect.
  3. Cessation of sorrow- Freedom from suffering can be obtained after the complete cessation of desire.
  4. Paths to the cessation of sorrow- The last of the Four Noble Truths is the Middle Way or the path between extremes of asceticism and indulgence leading to the eliminating of desire. The Eight-Fold Path consists of possessing the correct: Views, Resolve, Speech, Conduct, Livelihood, Effort, Mindfulness, and Meditation (or Concentration).
One of the Buddha’s first five disciples asked for being a monk. Therefore, the day also marks the beginning of the worship of the Triple Gems. That is, this day is sacred because it deals with the Lord Buddha (Buddha), His Teachings (Dharma), and His Disciples (Sangha). Normally, Asarnha Bucha Day happens one day just before the Buddhist Lent Day; that is, the day following Asarnha Bucha Day is the Buddhist Lent Day, which is known in Thailand as Wan Khao Pansa.

In this holy day, Buddhists all over the country observe the day by presenting offerings to the monks (to make merit), listening to the sermons, and performing ritual prayers. In addition, there are many activities in the family during this holiday such as cleaning the house and setting up an altar for religious ceremonies. Family members sometimes discuss problems in the family by taking the middle way as a guiding principle to abstain from sin and reduce the way of ruin. Also, they practice the Dharma in the temple, observe the precepts, pray to the triple gem, listen to the sermons and join a candle procession around the temple. For the candle procession, several institutions like schools and universities, including public and private organizations organize a colorful candle procession leading to a temple where the offering of the candles will be made. In the evening, the Wientian ritual ceremony takes place in Buddhist temples around the country. Many people go to nearby temples bringing candles, flowers, and joss sticks completing three trips walking around the temple area sacred grounds.

Thailand is considered to be the first country of all the Buddhist countries which establishes the observance of Asarnha Bucha Day. The religious day is declared to be a Buddhist public holiday in Thailand up to the present time.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Visakha Bucha Day

Visakha Puja Day marks the three important incidents in the life of Buddha on the same day; The full moon of the sixth lunar month.

The three significant separate event are :

Buddha's Birth - Buddha was born into a royal warrior clan in the Lumbini Garden, in an area of Northern India known today as Nepal) In the morning of the Vesak full moon day, 80 years before the Buddhist Era. He was named Siddhattha five days after his birth.

Enlightenment of Buddha - While sitting under the Bodhi tree, he found his answer and attained the enlightenment at the age of 35 years at Uruvelasenanigama subdistrict, Magadha state, (nowadays, located in the area of Buddha Kaya, Bihar State, India), on Wednesday, the Vesak full moon day, the zodiac of the cock, forty five years before the Buddhist Era.

The Nibbana - Buddha passed away on Tuesday, the Vesak full moon day in the zodiac year of the small snake under the two Sal trees in the Sala Grove of the Mallas in Kusinara, the capital of the Malla state, (nowadays located in Kusinagara of Uttrarapradesa, India) at the age of eighty years (around 2547 years ago).

Visakha Puja (Vesak) means the worship of the Buddha on the full moon day of the sixth lunar month. It usually falls in May. In the case of a year with an extra eighth lunar month--Adhikamasa (there are 13 full moons in that year)-- the Visakha Puja Day falls on the full moon day of the seventh lunar month.

Thailand Public Holidays

Quick guide for Public Holidays in Thailand