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Buddhist Festivals

Sand Chedi in Chiang MaiBuddhist Holy Days - wan phra - fall on the eighth day of the rising and falling moons, on the full moon, and on first day of the new moon. Thai calendars usually have the phases of the moon and the lunar month shown under the dates. The Thai years are calculated from the death of the Buddha, which is held to be 543 years before the birth of Christ. Thus 1999 is B.E (Buddhist Era) 2542.

If you visit a temple on a holy day, you may see older men and women in white sitting around the viharn.

On holy days devout lay Buddhists traditionally stay in the temple for twenty four hours.

On the three main annual Buddhist festivals - Makha Bucha (puja), Visakha Bucha and Asalaha Bucha - that celebrate events in the life of the Buddha - people go to the temples early in the evening for the wian tian ceremony. After chanting, a sermon, and some meditation, they walk mindfully three times clockwise around the chedi or viharn holding flowers, a lit candle, and burning incense sticks. They then place them nearby as an offering.

The ceremony is very colorful and is an excellent time to go to any of the major temples.

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