- Vesak: Buddha's Birthday is known as Vesak and is one of the major festivals of the year. It is celebrated on the first full moon day in May, or the fourth lunar month which usually occurs in May or during a lunar leap year, June. In some countries this has become an occasion to not only celebrate the birth but also the enlightenment and parinirvana of the Buddha.
- Magha Puja: Magha Puja is an important religious festival celebrated by Buddhists in Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos on the full moon day of the third lunar month (this usually falls in March).
- Buddha's Birthday: Also known as "Hanamatsuri" it is celebrated April 8 and in Japan baby Buddha figurines are ceremonially washed with tea.
- Asalha Puja Day: Also known as "Dhamma Day" celebrates the Buddha's first teaching on the full moon day of the 8th lunar month, approximately July.
- Uposatha: This day is known as observance day, there are four holy days on the new moon, full moon, and quarter moon days every month.
- Kathina Ceremony: This robe offering ceremony, is held on any date within the end of the Vassa Retreat. New robes and other requisites can be offered by the laity to the monks.
- Abhidhamma Day: According to Burmese tradition, this day celebrates when the Buddha went to the Tushita Heaven to teach his mother the Abhidhamma. It is celebrated on the full moon of the seventh month of the Burmese lunar year which starts in April.
- Songkran: This Thai festival goes on for three days during April during which people clean their houses and clothes and sprinkle perfumed water on the monks, novices, and each other. Boat races on the river are also part of the celebration.
- Loy Krathong: When the rivers and canals are full of water, this festival takes place in all parts of Thailand on the full moon night of the twelfth lunar month. Bowls made with leaves, candles, and incense sticks, are placed in the water, and represent bad luck disappearing.
- Madhu Purnima: It occurs on the day of the full moon in the month of Bhadro (August/September). The day commemorates an occasion on which the Buddha retreated to the wilderness of Parileyya forest to bring peace between two quarrelling factions of disciples.
- The Ploughing Festival: During the half moon in May, two oxen pull a plough painted gold. Following behind them are girls dressed in white scattering rice seeds. This was to celebrate the Buddha's first moment of enlightenment.
- The Elephant Festival: The Buddha used an example of a wild elephant which is harnessed to a tame one to be trained. He said that a person who is new to Buddhism should have a special relationship with an older Buddhist. This festival takes place on the third Saturday in November.
- The Festival of the Tooth: In Sri Lanka there is a temple that houses a tooth relic of the Buddha. It can't be seen, but once a year there is a procession for it on the full moon in August.
- Ulambana: "Ancestor Day" is celebrated from the first to the fifteenth days of the eighth lunar month. This is the day when the monastics complete their Rains Retreat. It was considered that many monastics would have made progress during their retreat and therefore become a greater field of merit. Lay devotees make offerings on behalf of their ancestors and dedicate the merit towards those suffering in the preta realm to relieve their suffering.
- Avalokitesvara's Birthday: This festival celebrates the Bodhisattva ideal. On the full moon day in March It represents the perfection of compassion in Mahayana traditions of Tibet and China.
- Bodhi Day: The holiday which commemorates the day that the historical Buddha experienced enlightenment.
Ask A Monk: Buddhist Holidays
"Hi Yutta Dhammo, Would you mind telling me what the precise holidays in the Theravada tradition are? I know Uposatha, Magha Puja, Vesak, Dhamma Day, Pavaran...
Are there Buddhist holidays?
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Buddhist Holiday - ให้เราได้รู้ (Keep on the Grass)
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Beginner Buddhism S2, Lesson 5: Buddhist Holidays
Hi all, This lesson in our series on Beginner Buddhism explores the most common holidays found in Buddhism, particularly Mahayana Buddhism (Tibet, China, Kor...
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