More than a thousand Buddhist monks took part in a beautiful candlelit ceremony at the Wat Phra Dhammakaya temple in Pathum Thani province, north of Bangkok, to mark Makha Bucha Day. The festival, which falls on the full moon day of the third lunar month, commemorates a day when 1,250 monks gathered to be ordained by the Buddha.

Looking more like a UFO than a Buddhist temple, the glitzy Wat Phra Dhammakaya temple is Thailand's wealthiest place of worship, and its members include some of Thailand's most powerful politicians. The temple has been dogged by allegations of corruption for years. In 2015, Thai Buddhism's governing body, the Sangha Supreme Council, cleared the monastery's abbot of allegations that he had embezzled donations.

Makha Bucha
Devotees sit with candles as Buddhist monks walk through them at the end of a ceremony at the Dhammakaya Temple, north of BangkokNicolas Asfouri/AFP
Makha Bucha
Buddhist monks meditate during a ceremony at the Dhammakaya TempleNicolas Asfouri/AFP
Makha Bucha
Two Buddhist monks stand in front of the Dhammakaya Temple before a ceremony on Makha Bucha DayJorge Silva/Reuters
Makha Bucha
Buddhist devotees meditate at the Dhammakaya TempleNicolas Asfouri/AFP
Makha Bucha
A Buddhist monk searches for his place at Dhammakaya Temple in Pathum Thani province, north of BangkokJorge Silva/Reuters
Makha Bucha
Young novice Buddhist monks pray at Wat Phra DhammakayaJorge Silva/Reuters
Makha Bucha
A Buddhist monk lights a candle at Wat Phra Dhammakaya during a ceremony on Makha Bucha DayJorge Silva/Reuters
Makha Bucha
Buddhist novices smile at the Dhammakaya Temple on the occasion of Makha Bucha dayNicolas Asfouri/AFP
Makha Bucha
Buddhist devotees hold candles during a ceremony at the Dhammakaya TempleNicolas Asfouri/AFP
Makha Bucha
The moon rises in the night sky behind the Dhammakaya Temple. The Makha Bucha festival is observed in Thailand on the full moon of the third lunar monthNicolas Asfouri/AFP
Makha Bucha
Buddhist devotees take a selfie at the Dhammakaya TempleNicolas Asfouri/AFP
Makha Bucha
Buddhist devotees bow as they pray during a ceremony at the Dhammakaya Temple to mark Makha Bucha dayNicolas Asfouri/AFP
Makha Bucha
A Buddhist novice holds a candle during a Makha Bucha day ceremony at the Dhammakaya TempleNicolas Asfouri/AFP
Makha Bucha
Buddhist devotees carry candles at the Dhammakaya Temple to mark Makha Bucha dayNicolas Asfouri/AFP
Makha Bucha
Buddhist devotees sit with candles during a ceremony held at the Dhammakaya Temple on the occasion of Makha Bucha dayNicolas Asfouri/AFP
Makha Bucha
Buddhist monks takes pictures at Dhammakaya Temple after a ceremony held to mark Makha Bucha DayJorge Silva/Reuters

Makha Bucha ceremonies were also held at other Buddhist temples in Thailand, Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia. The festival is also celebrated in India, where it is known as Magha Puja.