Religious Holidays Quiz

Handy Religion 2e
ISBN: 9781578593798
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What are three important events in the Buddha's life that Buddhists commemorate?

  • Theravada Buddhists celebrate them all on the same day.
  • Some Mahayana groups hold separate festivities on fixed dates.
  • Religious activities on these occasions include special gatherings in monastery temples.


Buddhists in various places commemorate three important events in the Buddha's life: his birth, his enlightenment, and his entry into nirvana. Theravada Buddhists celebrate them all on the same day, called simply Buddha Day, on the full moon day of Vaishakha (April/May). Some Mahayana groups hold separate festivities on fixed dates, with Buddha's birth observed on April 8 (called Hanamatsuri in Japan), his enlightenment (called Bodhi Day) on December 8, and his final entry into nirvana on February 15. Religious activities on these occasions include special gatherings in monastery temples. Devotees bathe images of the Buddha, listen to narratives of the Buddha's life, circumambulate his relics enshrined either in large structures called chaityas or small stupa- or pagoda-shaped reliquaries, and water small bodhi trees. Theravadins combine the festivities because tradition says that all three events occurred on the same day in different years. In Theravada southeast Asia, Buddha Day remains associated with the onset of the monsoon rains and the planting of the rice crop.

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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