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Visakha Bucha Day 4 June 2012

4 June is Thailand’s most venerated annual holiday: Visakha Bucha day is reverently celebrated by Buddhists as it marks the birth, enlightenment, and death of Lord Buddha. It is a national holiday and all government offices as well as many businesses will be closed.

A very traditional custom has developed in Chiang Mai to mark Visakha Bucha and to pay homage to the Buddha. Starting the night before, thousands of devotees walk up the mountain above Chiang Mai to the temple at Wat Phra Tat Doi Suthep, the famous temple with the golden stupa overlooking Chiang Mai.
The procession commences during the evening of 3rd June with the aim of completing the 9Km ascent before day break. On reaching the top, the Buddhist faithful walk three times around the golden Stupa containing the holy relics, before heading down the mountain. With many, many participants it can be a crowded but fun affair with the bulk of people usually arriving at the temple between 1 and 3 a.m.

A lantern parade is being organised by Chiang Mai municipality on Sunday 3rd June from the Governor’s house, near the river to Wat Chedi Luang; all the participant will be dressed in white for the event. A further procession will then proceed to Doi Suteph carrying lustral water

On Visakha Bucha day Buddhists are required to strictly adhere to Buddhist principles, visit temples, make merit “Tam Boon” listen to sermons, make donations and practice meditation and mental discipline. On this day Bhuddists also make offerings of alms to monks and keep the precepts of Buddhism, including abstinence from alcohol.

Alcohol will not be sold on Visakha Bucha Day and many bars and all entertainment venues will be closed. As so many people join the procession the previous night bars and shows will likely be very quiet.

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