Calendar of festivals dates. Resources to celebrate multicultural diversity

Buddhist Festivals Calendar

Buddhist Festivals 2018

Buddhism is a spiritual tradition that focuses on personal spiritual development and the attainment of a deep insight into the true nature of life, created by Siddhartha Gautama Buddha over 2500 years ago. There are two major divisions – Mahayana and Theravada. Buddhists believe that one must rise above desires, to reach a state of enlightenment.

2 January
Mahayana New Year
Mahayana Buddhists festival. Praying and honouring Buddha, visiting temple to light candles – to bring happiness and good luck for the coming year. Most Buddhists also meditate and reflect on their life situation in previous years trying to identify some of the faults and wrong decisions they have made in the past. Making things right is often a New Year’s resolution.

8 February
Nirvana Day
Also known as Parinirvana Day is an annual Buddhist festival that remembers the death of the Buddha when he reached Nirvana at the age of 80. Nirvana is believed to be the end of the cycle of death and rebirth. Buddhism teaches that Nirvana is reached when all want and suffering is gone.

2 March
Magha Puja Day
The spiritual aims of the day are not to commit any kind of sins, do only good and purify one’s mind. Magha Puja commemorates a time when 1,250 enlightened monks, disciples of the historical Buddha, spontaneously came together to pay respect to the Buddha.

30 April
Theravada New Year
Buddhists of the Theravada tradition celebrate their New Year with symbolic elements often found at the beach. 3 days celebrations

29 May
Wesak – Buddha’s Birthday
Wesak is the most important of the Buddhist festivals and is celebrated on the full moon in May. It celebrates the Buddha’s birthday and for some Buddhists it also marks his enlightenment and death.

27 July
Dharma Day
Also known as Asala Dharma Day, Asalha Puja or Asanha Bucha, is a festival that takes place in July at the full moon. This Buddhist celebration, marks the day when the Buddha began teaching. Buddhists considered this as a time to reflect deeply on the content from the Buddhist scriptures and express gratitude for his teachings.

8 December
Bodhi Day
Buddhists all over the world celebrate Bodhi Day on the 8th day of the 12th lunar month of the calendar. It commemorates the day that Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama attained enlightenment while meditating sitting under the Bodhi Tree (Peepal tree) in 596 BC

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