Buddhist Holidays - 2015

 Buddhist Holidays List --2015

Mon -  Jan 05, 2015 ---  Mahayana NewYear

Sun - Feb 15, 2015 -----
Nirvana Day
Thu - Mar 05, 2015 ---  Magha  Puja (Sangha Day)     

Sat - Apr 04, 2015 ----- Theravada New Year

Mon - May 04, 2015 --- Vesak Puja (Buddha Day)

Thu - Jul 02, 2015 ---- Asala- Puja (Dhamma Day)

Mon - Jul 13, 2015 ----- Obon

Tue - Dec 08, 2015 ----  Bodhi Day (Enlightment Day)


Buddhist  Festivals

Buddhist festivals are centered more or less around events connected to the Buddha and the Bodhisattvas, the compassionate Buddhas who stay on the earth until everyone has been liberated.

Buddhist Festivals are always joyful occasions. Typically on a festival day, lay people will go the the local temple or monastery and offer food to the monks and take the Five Precepts and listen to a Dharma talk. In the afternoon, they distribute food to the poor to make merit, and in the evening perhaps join in a ceremony of circumambulation of a stupa three times as a sign of respect to the Buddha, Dhamma, Sangha. The day will conclude with evening chanting of the Buddha's teachings and meditation.     

Buddhist festivals are part of the long and hard life that this small but ever growing community have been through. Every festival have a particular legend attached to it and have a great story that follows it.

 Being the land of the Buddha, India celebrates all those days as festivals that mark important days in the life of the Lord. Apart from this, there are also festival days that celebrates Buddha's teaching and spiritual community.

The Buddhist festivals in India are a joyful time for the Buddhist community. It is for them a time to dance and rejoice


Buddhist New Year

The Buddhist New Year is celebrated on different days throughout the world. In Theravadin countries (Thailand, Burma, Sri Lanka, Cambodia and Laos), the new year is celebrated for three days from the first full moon day in April. In Mahayana countries, the new year usually starts on the first full moon day in January, and Tibetan Buddhists generally celebrate it in March.


Vesak  (Buddha Day)



Vesak is the birthday of the Buddha and the most important festival in Buddhism. On the first full moon day in May, Buddhists all over the world celebrate the birth, enlightenment and death of the Buddha in a single day. The name "Vesak" comes from the Indian month of that name in which it is held.


Sangha Day (Magha Puja Day or Fourfold Assembly Day)


Sangha Day commemorates the Buddha's visit to Veruvana Monastery in the city of Rajagaha, when 1,250 arhats are said to have spontaneously returned from their wanderings to pay their respects to the Buddha. Sangha Day is celebrated on the full moon day of the third lunar month (March).

 The assembly is called the Fourfold Assembly because it consisted of four factors: (1) All 1250 were Arahats; (2) All of them were ordained by the Buddha himself; (3) They assembled by themselves  without any prior call; (4) It was the full moon day of Magha month (March).


 Dhamma Day (Asalha Puja Day)



Dhamma Day is observed on the full moon day of the eighth lunar month (July). It commemorates the "turning of the wheel of the Dharma" - the Buddha's first sermon - at the Sarnath Deer Park  which He delievered to a group of five  ascetics . The day also marks the beginning of the three months long Rains retreat during which monks remain confined to their monasteries and focus on their meditation.


Observance Day (Uposatha)

Observance Day refers to each of the four traditional monthly holy days that continue to be observed in Theravada countries - the new moon, full moon, and quarter moon days. It is known in Sri Lanka as Poya Day.


Kathina Ceremony (Robe Offering Ceremoy)

The Kathina Ceremony is held on any convenient date within one month of the conclusion of the three month rains retreat season (Vassa). On this day, the laity (non-monastics) offer new robes and other necessities to the monks and nuns.


Festival of Floating Bowls (Loy Krathong)

At the end of the Kathin Festival season, when the rivers and canals are full of water, the Loy Krathong Festival takes place in all parts of Thailand on the full moon night of the twelfth lunar month. People bring bowls made of leaves (which contain flowers), candles and incense sticks, and float them in the water. As they go, all bad luck is supposed to disappear. The traditional practice of Loy Krathong was originally meant to pay homage to the holy footprint of the Buddha on the beach of the Namada River in India.


Elephant Festival

The Buddha used the example of a wild elephant that is harnessed to a tame one to train to teach that a person new to Buddhism should be helped by an older Buddhist. To mark this saying, Thai Buddhists hold an Elephant Festival on the third Saturday in November.


The Festival of the Tooth

On a small hill in Sri Lanka is a great temple that was built to house a relic of the Buddha - his tooth. The tooth can never be seen, as it is kept deep inside many caskets. But once a year in August, on the night of the full moon, there is a special procession for it.


Ancestor Day (Ulambana)

In Mahayana countries, it is believed that the gates of hell are opened on the first day of the eighth lunar month and ghosts may visit the world for 15 days. Food offerings are made during this time to relieve the sufferings of the ghosts. On the fifteenth day, Ulambana or Ancestor Day, people visit cemeteries to make offerings to the departed ancestors. Many Theravadins from Cambodia, Laos and Thailand also observe this festival. This festival is celebrated on the 15th day of the 7th lunar month.


Bodhi Day (Enlightenment Day)

Bodhi Day honours the enlightenment of Siddhartha Gautama -- the Buddha. Buddhists observe the importance of this event by celebrating Bodhi Day usually on the eighth of December. The day is observed in many ways, including prayer, meditation and teachings.

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