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Buddhism Week on the Occasion of Magha Puja

February 12, 2014 Destination Thailand No Comments Email Email

The Religious Affairs Department is joining hands with several government agencies and religious organizations in holding a Buddhism Week from 10 to 14 February 2014, on the occasion of Magha Puja Festival.

Magha Puja, the first major Buddhist anniversary of the year, falls on the full-moon day of the third lunar month. Magha Puja Day in 2014 is on 14 February, coinciding with Valentine’s Day.

Various activities during the Buddhism Week take place in both Bangkok and the provinces. In Bangkok, the focal point of the festival is at the Sanam Luang ceremonial ground. There will be merit-making, chanting of holy texts, exhibitions, sermons, and a wian thian ceremony. A special program will be arranged for members of the public to travel by boat and by bus to pay homage to nine temples in Bangkok.

Magha Puja commemorates a day when 1,250 monks, all from different places and on their own initiative, spontaneously came to pay homage to the Buddha. All of them were enlightened monks, and they had been individually ordained by the Buddha himself. Such a unique gathering has never occurred anywhere else.

The Religious Affairs Department intends to encourage the people, especially the new generation, to be aware of the significance of Magha Puja and to adopt Buddhist principles in leading their lives. Since Magha Puja Day this year coincides with Valentine’s Day, the people will be urged to give gardenia flowers to their loved ones as a way of showing affection. The gardenia flower represents love and purity, and it is a symbol of Magha Pjua Day. Gardenias will also be sold at Sanam Luang during the Buddhism Week for charity purposes.

On 15 February, one day after the celebration of Magha Puja Day, the Office of National Buddhism and the World Fellowship of Buddhist Youth will jointly organize a ceremony to present the World Buddhist Outstanding Leader Award. The award presentation will take place at the Museum Auditorium, in Buddhamonthon, Nakhon Pathom province.

The year 2014 is the first year when the awards are to be presented to individuals and organizations for their contribution to Buddhism. A total of 178 recipients from 27 countries worldwide will receive the awards in 2014. Among these recipients are 38 monks from Thailand.

The objectives of organizing the first World Buddhist Outstanding Leader Award are to worship the Buddha and support activities during the celebration of Magha Puja Day 2014.

The World Fellowship of Buddhist Youth (WFBY) is the international network of Buddhist youth organizations around the world sharing the same aims of propagation and promote understanding of Buddhism to youth. Today, WFBY membership has expanded to 38 regional centers in 18 countries.

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