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Elacqua, Joseph, et. al. "Buddhist Holidays" Faithology, LLC. Last modified March 12, 2013.
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- Last Updated: March 12, 2013
- Originally Published: June 21, 2012
- The Faithology Editorial Staff
Buddhist holidays are popular celebrations throughout Asia as well as abroad. Celebrated by Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike, these holidays have permeated numerous cultures. Some celebrations are secular, involving parades in the streets and themed items sold in local stores. Other celebrations are more religious, requiring private expressions such as fasting, celibacy, or visits to temples.
Originally, Buddhists followed the standard Indian lunar calendar. However, since Buddhism has been largely removed from the Indian subcontinent, the Indian calendar was modified to coincide with the common calendars of each local culture in which Buddhism became prominent. Consequently, there can be discrepancies regarding dates even though the same holidays are being celebrated in different countries.
Two of the major holidays in Buddhism are general in nature. These holidays, called Uposatha, are celebrated monthly on the full and new moons. Other major holidays celebrate more specific occasions:
- Magha Puja celebrates the establishment of the , the Buddhist monastic community.
- Esala Perahera celebrates the enshrinement of a Buddhist in Sri Lanka.
- Poson Poya, sometimes called Day, celebrates the arrival of early Buddhism to Sri Lanka. It was transmitted by a monk named Mahinda.
- Unduvap , sometimes called Day, celebrates the planting of a in Sri Lanka. It was brought by a nun named Sanghamittha.
- Vassa refers to a period of retreat taken by Buddhist monks for three months.
- Vesakha celebrates the birth, achievement of nirvana, and death of Siddhartha Gautama.