Local media outlets have reported subdued Makha Bucha activity this year. Vendors have reduced their supplies in anticipation of suppressed consumer spending. More and more people are favoring saving over spending and only making purchases on essential items.
Many people are going to prepare their own set of monk offerings, rather than buying offerings from vendors. In anticipation of this, vendors have reduced their supplies.
During Makha Bucha the gathering held between the Lord Buddha and 1,250 of his first disciples is celebrated. It is customary in Thailand to visit temples, make merit, attend sermons and perform good deeds on that day. Giving monks offerings is also a major part of the celebration.
However, more and more people are favoring saving over spending and only making purchases on essential items. Vendors are currently selling monk-offering baskets between 100 to 300 baht each, with many blaming low sales on the economic downturn caused by the global pandemic.
One major Makha Bucha activity is the candle-lit circumambulation rite, which usually involves a mass gathering that puts participants at risk of contracting COVID-19. The highly transmissible Omicron coronavirus variant is thus further discouraging people from performing religious activities outdoors.