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Buddhist Holidays

There are myriad Buddhist holidays. Not all holidays are observed in all traditions, and some observed in all traditions are observed on different days. Vesak, the Buddha's birthday, is the most universally celebrated holiday, usually observed in May.

Buddhist Holidays 2014
Most Buddhist observances are determined by moon phase rather than date, so the dates change every year. They also are determined by various Asian calendars that don't correspond to the Gregorian calendar. Further, the same holidays are observed at different times in different parts of Asia, resulting in, for example, numerous Buddha's Birthday dates.

Uposatha are days marked by a full or new moon that are observed with intensive practice by Theravada Buddhists.

Images of Vesak and Buddha's Birthday
Vesak Puja is the most sacred holy day of Theravada Buddhism. Also called Visakha or Wesak, Vesak is an observation of the birth, enlightenment and death (parinirvana) of the historical Buddha. Mahayana Buddhists tend to separate these three events of the Buddha's life into three separate holidays. But the date of Vesak Puja -- a full moon day...

What is Vesak? Vesak, or Visakha Puja, is a major Buddhist holiday observing the historical Buddha's birth, enlightenment and death (Parinirvana).

When Is Buddha's Birthday?
When is Buddha's Birthday celebrated? There is no one date agreed upon by all Buddhists. Most Asian nations calculate Buddha's Birthday by lunar calendar, but they don't all use the same lunar calendar. So, there are several Buddha's Birthdays that usually fall in April, May and June.

Losar: Tibetan New Year
Losar is the Tibetan New Year, a three-day festival that mixes sacred and secular practices -- prayers, ceremonies, hanging prayer flags, sacred and folk dancing, partying.

Nirvana Day
Nirvana Day -- Parinirvana -- is a Mahayana Buddhist observation of the death and attainment of Nirvana of the historical Buddha. Nirvana Day is most often celebrated February 15.

Makha Bucha Day
The Buddhist holiday of Sangha Day is called Makha Bucha Day in Thailand. Sangha Day is observed about a month earlier in Thailand than in other parts of Asia.

Magha Puja Day
Magha Puja Day is a day to show appreciation Buddhist monastics for their dedication and practice.

Hungry Ghost Festivals
Asia's hungry ghost festivals are held to soothe and placate the dead.

Buddha's Birthday
Buddha’s birthday, often called Vesak or Visakha Puja, is celebrated on different dates by various schools of Buddhism. Whatever the date, it is a joyous holiday featuring parades, hanging lanterns, and the sharing of food and flowers.

Rohatsu - Rohatsu is Buddha's Enlightenment Day in Japan
Rohatsu, December 8, is the day Japanese Buddhists observe the enlightenment of the Buddha.

The Buddha's Tooth
A tooth of the Buddha is the main feature of Sri Lanka's Festival of the Sacred Tooth. Here is a brief history of the tooth.

Buddhist Holidays and Festivals
Most of the many holidays and festivals celebrated by Buddhists around the world commemorate important events in the life of the Buddha. The date of the holidays often differ by country and tradition.

Buddhist Festivals and Holidays
Another list of Buddhist holidays, from Urban Dharma.

The Significance of Vesak -- Buddha Day
Vesak, or Buddha Day, is the traditional observance of the birth of the historical Buddha. This essay by the Venerable Mahinda reminds us why the life of the Buddha is still significant.

Uposatha Observance Days
Uposatha days are times of renewed dedication to Buddhist practice, observed by both lay followers and monastics of Theravada Buddhism.

How We Observe Vesak, Saga Dawa, and Buddha's Birthday
Show us how your sangha observes Vesak and Buddha's Birthday See submissions

Saga Dawa or Saka Dawa
Saga Dawa is the "month of merits" for Tibetan Buddhists. During this fourth lunar month Tibetans make a special effort to keep precepts and make merit through generosity and devotion.

Vassa, a three-month Buddhist monastic retreat held during the monsoon rains, is a tradition began by the historical Buddha.

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