Buddhist Holidays

Buddhism, a spiritual path rooted in mindfulness, compassion, and understanding, is punctuated by a series of holidays and festivals that illuminate its teachings. From the solemn reflections during Vesak, commemorating the Buddha’s birth, enlightenment, and death, to the heartwarming moments of Uposatha, these celebrations serve as both reminders and affirmations of the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path. This listing ventures into the myriad Buddhist holidays, offering insights into their significance, practices, and the historical events or teachings they honor.

All Buddhist Holidays

Upcoming Buddhist Holidays

Full Moon Day of Waso

Waso, also known as the Full Moon Day of Waso, is an annual Buddhist holiday that is celebrated across Myanmar. The holiday celebrates the first sermon of the Buddha, and it is believed that any good deeds committed on this day are magnified. Waso is marked through ceremonies, donations and other kind acts. A feast is also held to honor monks, as well as commemorating the deceased.

Esala Perahera

Esala Perahera is an annual Buddhist festival celebrated in Sri Lanka. The festival is celebrated for ten days in July or August and is the most sacred Buddhist pageant in Sri Lanka. It is held in Kandy, the last kingdom of Sri Lanka, to commemorate the sacred tooth relic of the Buddha. During the festival, elephants, dancers, and torch-bearing drummers parade the streets representing the four guardian gods. Esala Perahera is a colorful event and is attended by thousands of devotees.

Ullambana

The Ullambana holiday is a Buddhist festival honoring filial piety and ancestor veneration. Celebrated in several countries, it's traditionally observed on the 15th day of the 7th lunar month and usually lasts for several days. During the holiday, families make offerings such as fruits, vegetables, and incense to deceased ancestors at their graves or temples, followed by a ritual feast. It's a time to show respect to those who have gone before.

Buddhist Lent

Buddhist Lent is an annual Thai festival celebrated by the Theravada Buddhist community during the 3-month hot season. It is also known as “Khao Phansa” which means “entering the rains” as it is the start of the monsoon season. During this time, many Thais observe a fast from dawn until dusk and dedicate their time to Buddhist studies and practice. People also visit local monasteries and temples to make merit which is believed to bring blessings and divine protection for the whole of the coming year.

Nikini Full Moon Poya Day in Sri Lanka

Nikini Full Moon Poya Day is a public holiday in Sri Lanka held each month on the day of the full moon. It is a day of spiritual observance and reverence for Buddhism and the legacy of the Lord Buddha.

Bodhi Day

Bodhi Day is an important Buddhist holiday celebrated on December 8th to commemorate the enlightenment of the Buddha. The celebration is marked through meditation, chanting mantras, studying the dharma, and other spiritual practices.

Vesak Day

Vesak Day is the holiday celebrated by Buddhists to commemorate the birth, enlightenment, and passing away of Siddhartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism. It is celebrated annually on the full moon day in May.

Asahna Bucha Day

Asahna Bucha Day is a Buddhist holiday celebrated in Thailand. The day marks the day of enlightenment of Siddhartha Gautama, who would later become the Buddha. To commemorate the day, people gather in temples to hear sermons, chant passages from the scripture, and meditate. Additionally, Buddhists practice the ‘Threefold Reflection’ and make merit by donating food and drink to monks. Celebrations also include releasing of birds and animals in captivity.

The holidays of Buddhism, much like the teachings of the Buddha, emphasize harmony, introspection, and compassionate action. While each festival holds its unique place and narrative within the rich tapestry of Buddhist traditions, they all converge on the essence of enlightenment, compassion, and interconnectedness. As you conclude this exploration, may the essence of these celebrations inspire a deeper appreciation for the journey of inner peace and collective well-being championed by Buddhism through the ages.

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