Religious Holidays Quiz

Handy Religion 2e
ISBN: 9781578593798
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What Buddhist observances are linked with seasonal cycles, and are there days devoted to other aspects of Buddhist teaching?

  • The so-called Rain Retreat (Vassa) begins on the day after the full moon day of the eighth lunar month, Asadha (July/August).
  • Marriages are generally not performed during the Rain Retreat (Vassa) .
  • On the full moon day of the third lunar month of Magha, some Buddhists commemorate Buddha's teaching of the monastic disciplinary code called the Vinaya.
  • Theravada Buddhists celebrate the Buddha's first sermon on the full moon day of Asadha (eighth lunar month).


The so-called Rain Retreat (Vassa) begins on the day after the full moon day of the eighth lunar month, Asadha (July/August), and continues until the full moon day of the eleventh lunar month Ashvina (September/October). Monks spend more time in meditation and study and are expected to remain in the monastery. Lay Buddhists visit temples and monasteries more frequently than usual to receive instruction, and marriages are generally not performed. Theravada Buddhists begin the season with monastic ordinations and end it with merit-rituals said to be in memory of Buddha's emergence from heaven. Also at the end of the retreat comes the festival called Kathina ("cloth"). During this joyous month-long festivity, laypeople give the monks new robes and other useful gifts. This is a favored time for pilgrimages to southeast Asian sites such as Rangoon's Shwe Dagon temple and Thailand's shrine of the Buddha's Footprint. In connection with the rice harvest in February or March, Theravada devotees make merit by celebrating the story of how the Buddha-to-be entered the world as Prince Vessantara in a previous incarnation.

On the full moon day of the third lunar month of Magha, some Buddhists commemorate Buddha's teaching of the monastic disciplinary code called the Vinaya. Thais celebrate by circumambulating the chaitya and listening to a sermon in the temple. Theravada Buddhists celebrate the Buddha's first sermon on the full moon day of Asadha (eighth lunar month) by revering the scriptural text. Some schools celebrate days dedicated to their central scriptures. For example, the denomination named after the Japanese reformer Nichiren (1222-1282) honors the Lotus of the Good Law Sutra, as do other groups in China and Japan. Monasteries typically celebrate anniversaries of their founding and in some countries a festive day marks the anniversary of Buddhism's arrival with the first missionaries. Members of the Jodo Shinshu (True Pure Land) sect remember their founder Shinran (1173-1262) on the 16th of each month, and with a week-long memorial every year in either January or November.

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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