When is Meak Bochea?
Meak Bochea is a public holiday in several Mekong region countries such as Cambodia and Thailand.
The date of this important Buddhist festival depends on Lunar cycle. In Cambodia it takes places on the full moon of the third Khmer lunar month (called Meak).
The holiday may also be known as Buddha’s Preachment Commemoration Ceremony.
The date of this holiday in Cambodia may differ from other Mekong region countries due to how the lunar calendar is used.
History of Meak Bochea
On this day, seven months after Buddha began his teachings, over a thousand monks gathered to hear Buddha preach.
Buddha ordained these monks and spread the principles of Buddhism. This marked a key event in the development of the religion.
45 years later, on the same full moon in the third lunar month, Buddha again delivered his teachings shortly before his death.
As mentioned the third lunar month on which both events occurred is known as 'Meak'. 'Bochea', means to honour.
How is Meak Bochea Day celebrated?
In the morning many people wake up early to give alms to monks. In the evening, temples are full of people listening to sermons. They often perform a ritual known as the the candle ceremony where they walk clockwise three times around the temple. holding flowers, incense and a lighted candle. Each of the three circuits represents one of the three jewels (ideas at the heart of Buddhism) - Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.