11 February 2008

Thai youths value Makha Bucha Day more than Saint Valentine's Day

Thai young people give more importance to Makha Bucha Day than Valentine's Day, according to a new poll on the eve of the western holiday known for expressing affection with heart-shaped greeting cards, red roses and chocolates.

The poll conducted by Assumption University (ABAC) Feb 1-9 indicated that 70 per cent of 1,569 young respondents in Bangkok were aware that this year's Makha Bucha Day fell on Feb 13, one day before Valentine's Day, which is always celebrated on Feb 14.

While 48.7 percent of the young Thai respondents said that Makha Bucha Day was more important than the Valentine's Day, 13.8 percent said the day of love--as Thais have named the western festival--was more important, and 37.5 percent said both days were equally important.

Macha Bucha is a Buddhist holy day and marks a point in history when 1,250 of the Lord Buddha's followers gathered as if they had been notified by a simultaneous awareness, from widely separated areas to hear his sermon and without previous arrangement.

On Macha Bucha Day, a national holiday, Thai Buddhists throughout the country usually make merit by giving alms to monks and go to temples to listen to Dharma.

Asked what to do on the Makha Bucha Day, more than 90 percent of the teenage respondents preferred staying home for togetherness with their families and at least 87 percent said they intended to commit themselves to doing good things, reducing and ending bad behaviour.

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