Visakha Puja

Visakha Pooja is one of the most significant days for Buddhists because this day marks the birth, enlightenment and Nirvana of Lord Buddha. Every year on this day (which falls on the full moon of the sixth month of the lunar year which is around the middle of the month May), Buddhists take the opportunity to pay homage to Lord Buddha and express their gratitude for his sacrifices and generosity. On the day of Visakha Pooja, Buddhists attend a public sermon during the day and lead a candle procession during the day to pay their respects to Lord Buddha.

In Bangkok, Visakha Pooja is the year's biggest religious holiday which comes during the seeding and ploughing season. People who have been working all day in the fields return at dusk to join the beautiful candle procession. Each person carries flowers, three glowing incense sticks and a lighted candle paying silent homage to Lord Buddha and his disciples.

Since it is also the anniversary of the day on which Lord Buddha passed away, Buddhists all over express their mourning also. They chant passages reflecting on the Lord's virtues and try to abstain from material comforts by not sleeping on comfortable beds and by having just one or two meals a day. It is essentially a day on which Buddhists sacrifice their daily affairs and observe the precepts of Buddhism.

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