Asahna Bucha Day celebrations in Thailand take place on July 20. Start lighting your candles; it’s a Buddhist festival that falls on the full moon of the eighth lunar month every year and brings together families, communities, and adversaries, creating a sense of peace and cohabitation in the countries where it is observed. The Buddha himself set this festival in motion following his legendary sermon in which he outlines the road ahead for Theravada Buddhists.
History of Asahna Bucha Day
‘Asahna Bucha’ Day, also known as ‘Asalha Puja,’ or ‘Dhamma’ Day, depending on which region you’re observing it in, is a Buddhist festival celebrated on the full moon of the eighth lunar month. Usually, this falls in July of every year. This religious festival honors the Buddha and commemorates his first-ever sermon and the establishment of the Buddha’s ‘sangha’ — known as the ‘Four Noble Truths.’
‘Dukkha’ (suffering), ‘tanhā’ (craving), ‘nibbāna’ (the state beyond the challenges mentioned), and the eight-fold path, which is the route to ‘nirvana,’ make up the noble truths. Buddha’s sermon in which he outlined these teachings became known to his followers as the setting in motion of the “Dhamma,” which is a crucial concept with multiple meanings in the Theravada Buddhist faith.
This first sermon, which outlines Buddha’s first structured discourse following his enlightenment, contains the essence of all his subsequent teachings. After he delivered his sermon leaving his followers speechless and contemplating, one of the participants requested to be a disciple. Buddha granted him that honor and, in doing so, established the first order of monks.
There are many Buddhist holidays celebrated in Thailand; Asahna Bucha Day is one of them and has many observers. It is the largest, most celebrated, and most important exhibition of faith in the country. Other countries where this day is observed and celebrated include Indonesia, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Laos, and Myanmar
Asahna Bucha Day timeline
Buddha introduces the ‘Four Noble Truths’ in a sermon to his five most devoted followers.
The start of Theravada Buddhism in Southeast Asia.
“The Pāli Text Society” promotes the study of texts of the Theravada school of Buddhism.
A celebration is held to commemorate 2,500 years of Buddhism and the sacred texts of Buddha.
Asahna Bucha Day FAQs
Who was the founder of Buddhism?
Siddhartha Gautama, born around the sixth to the fourth century B.C. in Lumbini, near Kapilavastu, was a spiritual leader known as Buddhism’s founder. He later became known as Gautama Buddha, and today we call him Buddha.
Do Buddhists believe in death?
Buddhists believe that death is a natural part of life’s cycle and that it leads to rebirth. They believe that a person’s spirit remains close by and seeks out a new body and new life, which they find comforting.
Will Buddha return to earth?
There is a future Buddha, Maitreya, currently in the Tushita heaven. They will descend to earth to preach a new version of the “Dharma” when the teachings of Gautama Buddha become decayed.
Asahna Bucha Day Activities
Visit a temple and honor the monks
A great way to celebrate Asarnha Bucha Day is to venture outside and visit temples where you can leave gifts like candles and flowers for the monks. Perhaps you can even bake some traditional Thai biscuits and sweets. Honoring the monks and showing them that they matter means a lot for their faith and shows that you, too, are a devoted, faithful Buddhist.
Attend a candle festival
Hundreds of people gather in their towns and cities to light their candles and incense. Some visit temples and others go to community spaces to distribute these candles. This tradition has become a staple of the modern era, and in some parts of Thailand, you can participate in elaborate candle festivals. The most well-known candle festival takes place in the northeast city of Ubon Ratchathani.
Prepare for ‘Wan Khao Phansa’
‘Wan Khao Phansa’ takes place on the day after ‘Asahna Bucha’ Day and marks the beginning of the three-month ‘Phansa’ period, which is the rainy season. During this time, monks traditionally stay within the walls of their own temple, so the gifts bestowed onto them at candle festivals come in handy. For the rest of the community, this is observed as ‘Buddhist Lent.’
5 Must-Know Facts About Buddhism
Buddha was enlightened after temptation
Buddha sat under the Bo tree for 49 days and was tempted by demons before enlightenment.
There are two primary Buddhist schools
These are Mahāyāna and Theravāda, also known as Hinayana.
Buddhists believe in reincarnation
Buddhists accept that rebirth is part of the endless cycle of life known as ‘samsāra.’
There are millions of Buddhists
According to research, there are about 506 million Buddhists worldwide today.
Buddhists believe that good behavior will be rewarded while destructive behaviors are punished.
Why We Love Asahna Bucha Day
It conserves tradition and religious beliefs
The fact that Buddhism has been around for so many centuries, and has been a guiding light in life for billions of people, is a testament to the power and impact faith can have in our lives. Traditions and religious beliefs have a place in this world and can help even the darkest of people emerge from their most troubling times.
Encourages a healthy and faithful life
Whether you are religious or not, witnessing the devotion of Buddhists and how they so effortlessly navigate life can be very inspiring. So much so that people don’t necessarily convert to Buddhism but take on many lessons and behaviors of the faith to maintain peace and wellness in their busy and challenging lives.
It celebrates charity and gifting
As generations evolve and grow, we learn and take on many habits from those that came before us, and in doing so, we conserve the good nature of others. In this case, the spirit of being charitable and giving, like the people of Thailand, and other Buddhist regions, takes on a longer lifespan and influences generations to come. Today, many consider giving a love language, which says a lot about society's evolution.
Asahna Bucha Day dates