Visakha Bucha 2558BE / Wesak Day 2015 in Thailand
In Thailand, Wesak Day is more commonly known as Visakha Bucha.
Visakha Bucha 2558BE will officially be commemorated on the 1st of June 2558BE, although the celebration may go on for another week! The official calendar of Thailand is based on the Eastern version of the Buddhist Era, meaning that years are counted since the birth of Buddha. This makes it 543 years ahead of the Gregorian Calendar, consequently, the Christian year 2015 is year 2558BE in Thailand.
This will be a massive festival to embrace the birth, enlightenment and passing of Gautama Buddha.
There’s no country quite like Thailand where you want to be when it’s time to celebrate Wesak Day! A big majority of Thais are Buddhists, and devoted ones, at that. So when it’s time to pay tribute to the Buddha on Wesak Day, it’s pomp, ceremony and tradition all the way!
To enjoy the massive photo opportunity during Visakha Bucha 2558BE, why not integrate yourself with the locals and be a part of the festival? Symbolized by monks in saffron robes, Buddhist devotees in blinding white and candlelit processions in the gloaming as everyone makes their way to the Buddhist temples to gather and be thankful to the Buddha for his teachings and precepts, Visakha Bucha is a favorite festival for locals and tourists alike.
What To Do in Thailand During Visakha Bucha 2558BE (Wesak Day 2015)
Here’s a list of things you can do if you’re lucky enough to be in Thailand on Wesak Day this year!
- Visit the Buddhist Temple closest to you! There’s nothing quite like being in a Buddhist temple on Visakha Bucha. The subdued yet electrifying atmosphere, the fragrance of flowers and burning incense sticks, the bathing of the baby Buddha, the crowds of people dressed in their best and paying respect to the Buddha, the scents of traditional Thai food: it’s not to be missed!
- Be A Part of the Candlelit Procession to the Temple. As the sun begins to set, the candles are brought out and a procession through the towns to specific Buddhist temples begins. You might want to catch one such procession, in which case you might want to get your own candle!
- Offer Alms to Saffron-Robed Monks. On Visakha Bucha, devotees of the Buddha (which means almost everyone in Thailand), make traditional Thai food and bring it to the temple where they offer this food to the monks in the form of alms. You can also be a part of this: all you have to do is buy some food, and head to your nearest Buddhist temple.
- Listen to the Dhamma Talks By The Monks. On Visakha Bucha Day, Dhamma talks are held by monks in the temples, which outline the teachings and way of life of the Buddha. These are quite interesting to listen to, but only if you’re in the bigger temples where the talks are generally held in English. For small Buddhist temples in smaller towns and villages, the experience of Visakha Bucha may be more pronounced, but if you don’t understand Thai, you might be missing out on a lot!
- Take Photographs. The best time to take photographs of Visakha Bucha Day is at dawn, when the devotees make their way to the temples. The bright white of their dress, the saffron hues worn by the monks and the gleam of the statue of the Buddha offset by the soft golden rays of the sun: a photographer’s paradise. To respect the festival and what it stands for, you might want to maintain some distance, in which case a long lens may be a good idea.
Where To Be on Wesak Day 2558BE/2015AD in Thailand
Visakha Bucha is celebrated all over Thailand. No matter where you are within Thailand, you can’t help but catch a glimpse of this festival since EVERYONE celebrates: from the bigwigs in Bangkok to the farmers in Pai! However, to get the most of Visakha Bucha in 2015 AD, why not decide whether you want to see the celebrations in a huge city, a small town or a village? All offer different experiences. Here are a few places you might want to stay at if you’re checking out Wesak Day in Thailand:
- Bangkok – read more about Bangkok here.
- Phuket – read more about Phuket here.
- Chiang Mai
- Koh Chang
There’s no destination in Southeast Asia where you’ll find colorfully exotic celebrations for Wesak Day like you’ll do in Thailand. Plan your trip to Thailand here!