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Thousands of Thai monks put on a light show for Buddha as full moon festival begins

These beautiful images show thousands of Thai Buddhist monks gathering to carry lanterns and venerate a statue of Buddha to mark one of the holiest days of the religious calender.

Makha Bucha commemorates the full moon day which falls on the third lunar month of the year.

Though sources differ slightly, it is generally believed the festival originates from the first sermon given by Lord Buddha, nine months after his Enlightenment, when 1,250 monk disciples appeared spontaneously to hear him speak.
Thousands of Thai Buddhist monks chant during a lantern lighting to celebrate Makha Bucha day at Dhammakaya Temple in Pathum Thani province, on the outskirts of Bangkok
Thousands of Thai Buddhist monks chant during a lantern lighting to celebrate Makha Bucha day at Dhammakaya Temple in Pathum Thani province, on the outskirts of Bangkok

Makha Bucha or Magha Puja also known as the day of the Fourfold Assembly is one of the holiest days to commemorate the full moon night of the third lunar month
Makha Bucha or Magha Puja also known as the day of the Fourfold Assembly is one of the holiest days to commemorate the full moon night of the third lunar month

People walk around the Buddha Statue holding candles for prayers during Makha Bucha Day
People walk around the Buddha Statue holding candles for prayers during Makha Bucha Day


'Makha' is the Thai word for the third lunar month while 'Bucha' means to honour or venerate.

The festival is one of the most important public holidays in the Thai calender and police have banned the selling of alcohol for 24 hours as a mark of respect.

To celebrate the full moon anniversary, Buddhists have been visiting temples to hear sermons and perform good deeds.

The most spectacular event though, is the candlelit procession where Buddhists and monks carry a lighted candle, flowers and an incense stick in a clockwise direction around temples.

These items represent the Three Jewels of Buddhism: the Buddha, his teachings and the monkhood.
Makha Bucha day is strongly observed in Thailand and is marked by a public holiday while the selling of alcohol is banned for 24 hours
Makha Bucha day is strongly observed in Thailand and is marked by a public holiday while the selling of alcohol is banned for 24 hours

Makha Bucha day is celebrated on the first full moon day of the third lunar calender month
Makha Bucha day is celebrated on the first full moon day of the third lunar calender month

It is believed Makha Bucha day originates from when Lord Buddha gave a sermon to 1,250 monks who appeared before him spontaneously
It is believed Makha Bucha day originates from when Lord Buddha gave a sermon to 1,250 monks who appeared before him spontaneously