Religious Holidays Quiz

Handy Religion 2e
ISBN: 9781578593798
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What and when are some of the Major Buddhist Festal Days?

  • New Year (Theravada): Three-day celebration beginning with April's first full moon.
  • Asala is also known as Dharma Day because of its association with the Buddha's preaching his "first sermon.
  • Buddha Day: Occurs during the full-moon, known variously as Wesak, Visak, or Vaishakha, is Buddhism's principal and most widely celebrated festal day.
  • Parinirvana Day is sometimes called Nirvana Day.


Calendar of Major Buddhist Festal Days

Precise dates of the following major Buddhist observances vary somewhat by sub-community and region, as well as from one solar year to another. They are listed here according to solar calendar months in which they most often occur. Many communities also observe seasonal festivities associated with the vernal and autumnal equinoxes, and some mark special times each month for heightened devotion, marked by the new, full, and quarter moons.

February

Magha Puja: Also called Sangha or Fourfold Assembly Day, recalls the Buddha's speaking to a gathering of 1250 arahats.

Parinirvana Day: Theravada Buddhists observe the Buddha's final entry into Nirvana. Mahayana Buddhists call it Nirvana Day and recall the Buddha's death on the occasion.

April

New Year (Theravada): Three-day celebration beginning with April's first full moon, featuring a symbolic cleansing of monasteries and Buddha images, paralleling a spiritual purification of all bad karma and renewal of Buddhist values.

May

Buddha Day: Occurs during the full-moon, known variously as Wesak, Visak, or Vaishakha, is Buddhism's principal and most widely celebrated festal day. For virtually all Buddhists the day mark's the Buddha's birth, but some also recall his attainment of enlightenment and his death on the day.

June to September (Rainy Season)

Varying "retreat" activities find increasing visits to temples, young men entering monasteries for brief experience of the monk's life.

July

Asala: Also known as Dharma Day because of its association with the Buddha's preaching his "first sermon," in which he set in motion the "wheel of Dharma" just after achieving enlightenment.

August

Some Buddhists (especially in Sri Lanka) celebrate the Festival of the Tooth at full moon, with special reverence for one of the Buddha's most important "relics."

October/November

Kathina : Theravada Buddhists observe Kathina month to end the rainy season, with increased pilgrimage visits and merit offerings, including presentation of new robes to monks.

December

Bodhi ("Enlightenment") Day: Some Buddhists commemorate Gautama's becoming the "Buddha" as a result of his enlightenment in meditation beneath the Bodhi tree.

From The Handy Religion Answer Book, Second Edition by Jack Rendard, Ph.D., (c) 2012 Visible Ink Press(R). Your Guide to the World's Major Faiths

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