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Friday, December 1, 2023

The end of Buddhist Lent is approaching this Thursday and with it one 24-hour alcohol sales ban


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The end of Buddhist Lent, also called “Awk Phansa” in Thai, is approaching this Thursday, Oct. 21. The day also traditionally entails a 24-hour national alcohol sales ban, though it hasn’t been officially announced yet, but it’s almost certain it would.

While bars and entertainment venues across the country will remain closed due to the Covid19 virus and only a few sandbox areas such as Phuket will be allowed to sell alcohol in restaurants, the same will apply to retail sales next Thursday.

The Awk Phansa annually marks the end of the three-month Buddhist Lent and the end of the rainy season. Monks would end their three-month retreats and return to their temples and lead normal Buddhist lives.

On this day, Thai Buddhists would traditionally go to the temples to offer both merits and offerings to the monks. The day also includes the act of Pavarana which allows monks to pass resolutions and ask forgiveness for any transgressions committed during Lent.

Some conservative Buddhists also celebrated by abstaining from meat, smoking and drinking, leading to the national ban on the sale of alcoholic beverages across the country on every Buddhist holiday.

Traditionally, bars, nightclubs and entertainment venues have been ordered to close. However, as mentioned, they have been closed nationwide since April of this year due to Covid19. Restaurants, hotels, supermarkets, etc. are all not allowed to sell alcohol. Although it is not against the law, drinking alcohol is not recommended to respect the end of Lent.

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