The major Buddhist holiday Visakha Bucha Day will be honoured this Saturday (May 18), followed by a substitution day public holiday next Monday (May 20).
As Visakha Bucha Day is a holy day, all shops, bars and restaurants are barred from selling alcohol for 24 hours from midnight to midnight on Saturday (00:01hrs-23:59hrs).
However, there is no ban on the sale of alcohol next Monday.
Each year on Visakha Bucha Day, Buddhists all over the world commemorate three great events on this full moon of the sixth lunar month: The birth, enlightenment and the passing away of Gautama Buddha.
Devout Buddhists rise early to visit temples to make merit and listen to sermons on the Buddha’s teachings.
After sunset, candle-lit processions will take place at major temples throughout the country, with devout Buddhists walking clockwise three times around the principal chapel while clasping three incense sticks, a lighted candle and lotus buds. During the “wiang tian” candle processions, the air is filled with burning incense and smoke from the candles as the faithful complete this most sacred of Buddhist celebrations.
On Saturday, most government offices on the island will be closed, including Phuket Immigration Office, the Employment Office, the Land Transport Office and the island’s three District Offices. Also most local consulates will be closed.
All main bank branches will be closed, but branches in shopping centres will remain open.
All Royal Thai Police and Tourist Police stations will remain open.
On Saturday, alcohol sales is prohibited across the country, except at duty-free shops at the airport.
According to an announcement by the Prime Minister’s Office on January 22, 2015, the sale of alcohol is prohibited on five specific religious days: Makha Bucha, Visakha Bucha, Asarnha Bucha Day, Khao Pansa and Wan Org Pansa days.
(Source: The Phuket News)