Bangkok, Thailand -- Sangha Day, also called Magha Puja Day, is one of the most holiest days on the Theravada Buddhist calendar and is celebrated across many nations, but most common in Thailand, Cambodia and Laos.
In Thailand it is marked with Buddhist Monks chanting, candle processions around the temple (Wat), and presentation of gifts of food and flower garlands to the monks by members of the temple (Wat).
Magha Puja day marks the four auspicious occasions, which happened nine months after the Enlightenment of the Buddha at Veruvana Bamboo Grove, near Rajagaha in Northern India.
This special day also commemorates Buddha’s visit to Veruvana Monastery in the city of Rajagaha, when 1,250 arhats are said to have returned from their great wanderings to pay their respects to the Buddha.
Sangha Day is celebrated on the full moon day of the 3rd lunar month which is usually March but falls in February in 2012.
Magha Puja/Sangha Day is a public holiday in Thailand, Laos and Cambodia and is an occasion when Buddhists tend to go to the temple to perform merit-making activities.
Celebrations for Sangha Day range widely by devotees and can also include: family gatherings, community gatherings, gift giving, lighting of oil lamps, meditation, chanting, food, flowers and the reaffirmation of commitments to Buddha.