Magha Puja or Magha Bucha, an important Buddhist celebration, is observed in Pattaya with enthusiasm. The occasion falls in the third lunar month on a full moon day, which is usually in late February. On this festival, people go to the temple to perform merit-making activities.
People visit temples where they offer flowers, candles and incense. They pray to Lord Buddha, expressing their repentance for the deeds which were not endorsed by Buddha. Thereafter, they listen to the address of the monk with rapt attention. Candle-lit processions are taken out in the towns and villages. People take part in these celebrations enthusiastically. Monks and people circumambulate the main chapel or pagoda in the local temples and then bow their heads before Buddha idols.
Credit of initiating Magha Festival in Thailand goes to King Rama IV who ordered the Magha Puja ceremony to be performed in the Emerald Buddha Temple of Bangkok in 1851. The festival was accepted by the public who were staunch Buddhists and continued even after the death of the king. The festival has now been declared a national holiday so that faithful Buddhists from all strata of the society could participate in it.
Preachings of Lord Buddha
Magha Puja festival of Thailand commemorates a historical occasion. Thousands of years ago, 1250 of the Lord Buddha's disciples gathered at Veluwan Temple at Rajgriha, the capital of Magadha state in India. It was the full moon day of Magha month (March). Every one of those enlightened disciples had been given monastic ordination personally by Lord Buddha. The assembly is called the Fourfold Assembly.
It was the evening when Lord Buddha laid down the foundations of his way of thought in his discourse to these disciples. His preachings could be summarised into three acts i.e. perform good, refrain from bad actions and refine the mind. This teaching is known in Buddhist literature as ‘Ovadapatimokkha'.