200,000 Buddhists Gathered on a Giant Screen Via Zoom to Celebrate One of Their Holiest Holidays

200,000 Buddhists Gathered on a Giant Screen Via Zoom to Celebrate One of Their Holiest Holidays
Thai monks walk past a 280-metre-long screen (280.42 m) where virtual devotees take part in an online Makha Bucha Day ceremony on February 26, 2021 in Bangkok, Thailand. (Photo: Lauren DeCicca, Getty Images)

There’s no doubt that pandemic fatigue is high. I get it. Heck, my area has restrictions right now. But it’s important to remember that there are ways that we can get together as a community while being safe and considerate of others. If you need an example, check out the more than 200,000 Buddhists that got together via Zoom on Friday to celebrate Makha Bucha Day.

One of Buddhists’ Holiest Holidays

Photo: Lauren DeCicca, Getty Images Photo: Lauren DeCicca, Getty Images

As explained by Reuters, Makha Bucha Day is an annual prayer and lantern ritual and one of Buddhists’ holiest holidays. Observed on the third lunar moon, the holiday celebrates the day when 1,250 monks gathered to be ordained by the Buddha more than 2,500 years ago.

Before the Pandemic, Hundreds of Thousands Would Gather on This Day

Volunteers manage a global Zoom call of over 200,000 participants at Wat Dhammakaya on February 26, 2021 in Bangkok, Thailand. (Photo: Lauren DeCicca, Getty Images) Volunteers manage a global Zoom call of over 200,000 participants at Wat Dhammakaya on February 26, 2021 in Bangkok, Thailand. (Photo: Lauren DeCicca, Getty Images)

In non-pandemic times, hundreds of thousands of people would gather at the Dhammakaya Temple in Bangkok, Thailand, the outlet stated. Although the temple didn’t receive that many in-person visits on Makha Bucha Day this year, it sure got a lot of virtual visitors.

Pandemic Restrictions Moved the Temple’s Ceremony Online

Photo: Lauren DeCicca, Getty Images Photo: Lauren DeCicca, Getty Images

Temple officials stated that they decided to have a virtual ceremony as a precaution due to pandemic restrictions.

The Temple Decided to Connect With People Via Zoom

A 280-metre-long screen shows virtual devotees participating in an online candle lighting ceremony at Wat Phra Dhammakaya on February 26, 2021 in Bangkok, Thailand.  (Photo: Lauren DeCicca, Getty Images) A 280-metre-long screen shows virtual devotees participating in an online candle lighting ceremony at Wat Phra Dhammakaya on February 26, 2021 in Bangkok, Thailand. (Photo: Lauren DeCicca, Getty Images)

Pha Sanitwong Wuttisangwo, the Dhammakaya Temple’s communications director, told Reuters that technology played a key role in the ceremony this year.

“With the technology that we have today, we are able to connect with people via Zoom so that devotees can join us online,” the director said.

There’s Just Something About a Big Screen Filled With People

Photo: Lauren DeCicca, Getty Images Photo: Lauren DeCicca, Getty Images

While this certainly isn’t the first mass event to be held online, seeing a 280-metre-long screen (280.42 m) filled with faces is quite a sight.

Lighting a Candle for Participants

Photo: Lauren DeCicca, Getty Images Photo: Lauren DeCicca, Getty Images

And although the virtual participants weren’t able to visit the temple and light a candle, officials made sure there was someone in their stead. A group of 1,000 Buddhists were present to light candles in the name of the ceremony participants.