Buddhist festivals of India are no exception to these. Being the land of the Buddha, India celebrates all those days as festivals that mark important days in the life of the Lord. Apart from this, there are also festival days that celebrates Buddha's teaching and spiritual community.
The Buddhist festivals in India are a joyful time for the Buddhist community. It is for them a time to dance and rejoice. You can be a part of this celebration if you plan your trip to the country around the date of these festivals. This section on Buddhist Festivals tries to introduce you to all these festivals. It gives you the details of the festivals, why and how they are celebrated and also the upcoming date of that festival.
So, come, be a part of these festivals in your coming vacations to India. You will not only have fun, but will also learn a lot about Buddhist religion on the whole.
Famous Buddhist Festivals of India
Jayanti / Purnima : Buddha Jayanti or the Buddha Purnima
celebrates the birth of Prince Siddharta on the full moon night in the
month of Vaisakh (April/May). Years later, on the same day, Prince
Siddharta attained enlightenment and beacme the Buddha. Finally, on the
same day, he attained parinibbana. Thus, Buddha Purnima marks not just
the birth but also the death of Lord Buddha.
- Losar :
Losar, or the Tibetan New Year is celebrated with much gaiety in various
parts of India. Buddhists dress up well, visit their relatives and offer
worships in temples to seek blessings of various gods. Also, of special
significance is the Chaam dances that are performed in the monasteries
in India. The dances portray the victory of good over evil.
- Hemis Fair
: Celebrated in the Hemis Monastery in Ladkah, J&K, the Hemis
festival/fair is one of the most famous Buddhist events of the country
that attracts tourists from both India and abroad in large numbers. The
festival celebrates the birth of Indian sage, Guru Padmasambhava who was
also responsible for spreading Buddhism in Tibet. The festival is
celebrated for two days and has a portrait of "Dadmokarpo" or "Rygyalsras
Rimpoche" held on display for people to worship. The highlight of
the festival is the sacred mask dances, Chaams that are performed by the
monks. The beating of drums, clashing of cymbals and the spiritual wail
of pipes add a mystic touch to the festival.
- Ullambana :
Along with other countries like China, Japan and Malaysia, India,
too celebrates Ullambana. The festival is the time when, it is believed,
the Gates of the Hell open and the dead are allowed to pay a visit to
their loved ones on earth. Because of this, on this day, the Buddhists
make offerings to the deads and perform charitable deeds so as to gain
spiritual merit. The festival is celebrated on the 15th day of the 7th
- Sangha Day/
Magha Puja : The Sangha day celebrates the spontaneous
gathering of 1250 Arahants at the Veruvana Monastery in the Rajgaha city
after the first Rains Retreat. This gathering was adressed by the Buddha
who delievered his sermon, or recitation of the Patimokkha. The event
took place in the month of magh as per indian calendar and hence, it is
also known as the the Magha day Puja. The festival, which honours the
Sangha or the Buddhist community, is also known as the Four Fold
- Asalha Day
: Asalha or the Dhamma Day celebrates the first teaching of the
Buddha which He delievered to a group of five friends. The day also
marks the beginning of the three months long Rains retreat during which
monks remain confined to their monasteries and focus on their
meditation. The day is celebrated on the full moon of the eighth lunar
month of Asalha.
- Pavarana Day
: This day marks the end of the vassa or the three months Rains
Retreat which begins with Asalha Day. The day falls on the full moon day
of the 11th lunar month and coincides with October November of the