Makha Bucha is one of the most important Buddhist holidays, which symbolizes purification of mind and enlightenment. It is a national holiday in Thailand and is celebrated on the full moon day of the third lunar month, which is usually between the second half of February and the early March.
The memory of 1 250 people, who, according to Buddhist history, once came to Buddha from different places without being summoned, is traditionally venerated on this day. He ordained them into monks and read a sermon, in which he brought forward main principles of his teaching: to cease from all evil, to do what is good, and to cleanse one's mind.
Prayers are said in all temples and monasteries of Thailand during Makha Bucha. They alternate with such good doings as treating monks and releasing fish and birds from cages and aquariums. Bangkok’s main festivities take place in the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and are directed personally by the king, who heads the candle procession inside the temple complex. After its end, the festively decorated depiction of Buddha is put in a special stretcher and all those present make a symbolic procession three times in a clockwise direction around the church. Participants are holding candles, perfumed sticks and lotus flowers at that.