The people visit the temples to perform meritorious acts. They offer flowers, candles and incense in the temple and pray to Lord Buddha, expressing their repentance for their ugly deeds. Thereafter, the monk addresses the people collectively and they listen to him with full attention. Later, a candle-lit procession is taken out and the faithful participate in it with great zeal.
In Capital Bangkok, His Majesty the King himself preside over the religious rites held in the Emerald Buddha Temple and later, leads the procession. The Emerald Buddha temple and the Grand Palace are two best places in Bangkok to enjoy the celebrations.
Magha festival was initiated in Thailand by King Rama IV who order the Magha Puja ceremony to be performed in the Emerald Buddha Temple of Bangkok in 1851. The ceremony continued even after his death. It received enthusiastic recognition for general public and became popular all over the kingdom.
The day of the festival is declared a public holiday to enable the faithful from all walks of life to take part in the celebrations..
Association with Lord Buddha
Magha puja festival commemorates the occasion when 1250 of the Lord Buddha's disciples assembled at Veluwan Temple at Rajgriha, the capital of Magadha state in India without any prior appointment. That evening, Lord Buddha gave them a discourse, laying down the foundations of his way of thought. His preachings were summarised into three acts i.e. perform good, refrain from bad actions and refine the mind.