On His seventh Lent after enlightenment, the Buddha was filled with compassion for the devas and the brahmas. Also His mother, who had passed away when He was very young, had been reborn there as Santusita Deva. Because of this, He went to Tavatimsa Devaloka or the celestial abode and preached the Abhidhamma Pitaka (Basket of Ultimate Things) to His mother as well as the assembly of devas and brahmas. The preaching continued for full three months, at the end of which the Buddha sought the permission of the king of the celestial abode to grant Him leave. On hearing this, the king created and arranged three stairways, one each of silver, gold and ruby. The stairways began from the great Mount Meru and terminated at the gate of the Sankisa, the town of human abode. The Buddha selected middle stairways and began His descent. He was accompanied on the right stairway (gold) by the devas who not only played the musical instruments but also fanned Him right through the journey. The higher celestial beings or the brahmas were on the left side stairway (silver) holding up white umbrella.
When the Buddha descended from the celestial abode, He, by His power, made it possible for the humans to see the celestial beings who were accompanying Him. Also, they could see the celestial world. The celestial beings, on the other hand, were able to see the millions of humans who had gathered to welcome the Buddha back into the human world.
The three months that the Buddha spent preaching the Abhidhamma Pitaka is extremely important event for the Buddhist world. The Abhidhamma day is celebrated to commemorate His descent back to earth.
The Time of Celebration
The festival is celebrated on the full moon day of the seventh month of the Burmese lunar calendar which starts in April. The seventh month usually coincides with Ocotober in Gregorian calendar.
On the Abhidhamma Day, the Buddhist offer lights to the image of the Buddha and carry out good deeds as per the tradition that has been continued from the time of the Buddha Himself. The festival is a time for mery making, though basically, it retains its spiritual characteristics.