“No alcohol, no disease, no Covid-19” is the official motto of this year’s National Alcohol Free Day in Thailand, handwritten by Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.
National Alcohol Free Day coincides with “Khao Pansa” (Entering Pansa), an auspicious Buddhist holiday celebrated throughout Southeast Asia. Khao Pansa marks the first day of ‘Vassa’, the 3-month Buddhist Rains Retreat.
For three months, Buddhist monks and nuns will stay in one place, usually their temple, to focus on the study of Buddhist texts and the practice of meditation. In October, after three months, the monks will come out of their temples and Thailand will celebrate “Ok Pansa” (coming out of Pansa).
The sale of alcohol is prohibited each year on several Buddhist festivals in Thailand. However, Khao Pansa was declared by Prime Minister Prayut as the country’s official National Alcohol-Free Day in 2017, as it marks the start of a three-month period in which many Thais are giving up something, such as alcohol. alcohol, meat consumption or smoking.
Although Buddhism predates Christianity by nearly six centuries, Vassa’s three-month retreat has earned the nickname “Buddhist Lent” for its similarities to its Christian counterpart.
Every year, Prime Minister Prayut writes a motto for Thais to reflect on National Liquor Day. This year, the motto is “No alcohol, no disease, no Covid-19”.
The motto is almost identical to Prime Minister Prayut’s National Alcohol Free Day motto for 2021, which was “Don’t drink alcohol, stay away from Covid-19, life will be safe”.
In 2020, the motto was “Take care of your life, don’t get addicted to alcohol” and the motto of 2019 was “Reduce or quit alcohol, bring happiness to your family”.
Under Thai law, anyone found selling alcohol today, or on one of Thailand’s major Buddhist holidays, could face a jail term of up to six months. , a fine of 10,000 baht, or both.
Realistically, any non-religious person who does not celebrate Khao Pansa could choose to illegally buy alcohol from a petty vendor if they find one selling it. However, convenience store chains like 7-Eleven won’t sell alcohol, so there’s no need to ask.
The sale of alcohol is also prohibited in Thailand on Makha Bucha Day, Visakha Bucha Day, Asahna Bucha Day and Ok Pansa. The exact dates change each year according to the lunar calendar.