Asalha Puja day
(Asalha Bucha Day) is considered to be one of the most significant Buddhist holy days. It falls on the full moon day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar year, generally in July. It is the day that Buddha delivered his first sermon known as “Dhammachakkappavattanasutta” which he preached to five ascetics. One ascetic named “Kotanya”, understood the insight knowledge of life that Buddha had taught and requested that Buddha ordain him as a monk. This event marked the first time that the Triple Gems were completed; there are Buddha himself, Dhamma (Buddha’s teachings) and the Sangha (the brotherhood of monks). This was the day that Buddhism was established in the world.
The Buddhist rainy season (Buddhist lent day)
พรรษา or "PHANSA" is the Buddhist rainy season. The rain retreat or Buddhist Lent is marked by two major religious events : one for the entering of the rainy season called "WAN KHAO PHANSA" (วันเข้าพรรษา) and for the exit of the rainy season called "WAN OK PHANSA" (วันออกพรรษา).
During the rainy season, i.e. three months, approximately July, august, September (depending on lunar months), monks aren't allowed to sleep outside their temple and cannot defrock. This tradition is coming from old times when Buddha stayed in temples during rainy season to avoid killing insects or growing seeds. It is a period for study, meditation and to teach new monks. They are allowed to go out during the day but they must sleep in the same temple every night during three months.
Still many Thai men become monks before the rain retreat as it offers a three months time to study the Dharma (ธรรม - Buddha teachings).
A few days before "WAN KHAO PHANSA", Thai people buy big candles. These candles should by pair. One for the buyer and one to get a mate for next life. When buying the wax candles, the candle is decorated with dragon, flowers , and so on.
Buddhist sermon การฟังเทศน์
Thai people gather in the temple in order to observe the five precepts and listen to the Dharma from monk. Temples are really crowded for "WAN KHAO PHANSA".
During the Buddhist sermon, some laymen and laywomen prepare the trays dedicated to the monks and When the Buddhist sermon is finished, Thai people are queuing to fill monks bowl with food.
Candle donation การถวายเทียนพรรษา
Thai people are queuing in order to give their donations to the abbot. They offer wax candles but also monk robe, food, lotus flowers, buckets full of useful goods and so on. A Thai greeting towards the monk ( "WAI" - ไหว้ ) shall be done before and after the donation.
Evening chanting ทำวัตรเย็น
In the Evening , Buddhist lay people who come to the temple for participating the religious ceremony must chant together with Buddhist monks after evening chanting they will listen to Dhamma talk by monk after finished Dhamma talk , They will prepare for Vien Tien.
"VIEN TIEN" การเวียนเทียน
เวียนเทียน or "VIEN TIEN" happens in the evening. During this ceremony, people turn around the temple three times with a candle in the hand.