If witnessing buddhist ceremonies is your thing, Visakha Bucha day is one of the finest times to be in Cambodia. The ceremony is practiced all over Asia, where locals, children & elders, enter the pagodas to be taught Buddhist precepts for five nights, six days.
Visakha Bucha day is celebrated on the full mood of the sixth lunar month, and represents the birth, enlightenment and death of Buddha, all of which is believed to have fallen on the same day.
Anybody can be ordained as monk or nun during this ceremony. It is aim is to teach Buddhist precepts, meditation and eliminate negative karma. Entering into buddhism during this ceremony is seen as an honor to families.
The ceremony starts with shaving of hair, to be reborn. The novice newcomers will then parade around the temple with gifts, robes in hand. They then become ordained as monks, a kind of swearing in, followed by a blessing from senior monks. For the following days the newcomers practice meditation buddhist education sessions. It’s tough going, as food can only be eaten before mid day, a way of teaching self discipline, with meditation being practiced practiced before and after sunlight. The final day monks will do their early morning then perform alms, the receiving of gifts from relatives who line the paths to pagodas & temples.
What to expect in Cambodia.
All activities can be witnessed around pagodas throughout the country. Best time for photography is before sunrise and after sunset, there meditation under candle light can be witnessed. Be respectful at all times and do not be obtrusive with the lens. The ceremony is practiced at Angkor Wat as there are active pagodas either side. But for the visitor, you can only expect to see meditation before sunrise and during the day. The park closes at 5.30pm to allow the ceremonies to proceed in peace. The monks are friendly but ensure you are welcomed, and not interfering with activities.
The final day sees hundreds of monks and nuns taking part in almsgiving ceremonies outside pagodas, also Angkor Wat, a great event to witness.
Visakha Bucha day 2020 falls on May 6th
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Heading to Cambodia? Check out our Angkor Wat survival guide.
Do not overlook Kampot, a great little town in the south of Cambodia.