Heat and work keep public away from Buddhist celebrations

TNA, Feb 23, 2005

BANGKOK, Thailand -- The National Buddhism Office today hinted that celebrations to mark the holiest day in the Buddhist calendar next year could be moved away from Bangkok?s Sanam Luang and into local temples, after fierce heat and the demands of work kept worshippers away from merit-making events.

Even before today?s events to mark Makabucha Day were over, the office?s director, Dr. Jakratham Thammasak said that a relocation next year was on the cards.

Blaming the poor attendance at Sanam Luang over the past few days on the heat and the fact that Makabucha this year fell on a weekday, he said that the National Buddhism Office would discuss the idea of organizing events in local temples next year rather than holding a mass celebration at Sanam Luang.

Although the turnout at Sanam Luang this morning was relatively high, few people attended the events held in the run-up to Makabucha Day since 19 February.

Dr. Jakratham also noted the importance of making Makabucha celebrations more interesting, in order to attract a greater range of people, particularly the nation?s youth. At the same time, he expressed agreement with proposals to designate Makabucha Day as a ?day of family love?.