Thailand is hosting a ceremony commemorating Vesak, or Visakha Bucha Day at the beginning of next month with more than 3,500 monks from 50 countries set to participate in the two-day celebration.
According to the National News Bureau of Thailand (NNT), the Sangha Supreme Council of Thailand has announced that the Vesak celebrations will be officially held on June 1st-2nd, 2023. The 18th edition of the event will be jointly organized by Maha Chulalongkorn Raja Vidyalaya University, the Sangha Supreme Council, and the Thai government.
The event will commence on June 1st and last till June 5th, with the opening ceremony presided by the Supreme Patriarch Ariyavongsagatanana followed by seminars at Maha Chulalongkorn Raja Vidyalaya University in the afternoon. On June 2nd, Buddhist monks and devotees will gather at the United Nations headquarters on Ratchadamnoen Road for a ceremony led by the president of the Privy Council, Gen Surayud Chulanont. Attendees can take part in prayers at Phutthamonthon in Nakhon Pathom province as well.
Permanent Secretary for Interior Suttipong Juljarern stated that the Interior Ministry will notify governors across Thailand to raise the national flag along with the Buddhist flag in order to promote Vesak Day. He also encourages Thai Buddhists to participate in merit-making activities from June 1st-7th and refrain from gambling during that period.
The Pattaya News notes that an alcohol sale ban and closure of entertainment venues will be enforced nationwide to respect the sacred ceremony during the event period on the actual Vesak day, June 3rd, Saturday, for 24 hours from Friday Night to Saturday/Sunday morning at Midnight.
This means that alcohol sales and bars will close all day on the 3rd of June for 24 hours and, yes, this will affect both Friday and Saturday night next weekend. Some venues, however, may choose to open before the closure on Friday and some may choose to open after the closure ends on Sunday Morning after Midnight Saturday.