Buddhist community celebrates a bunch of festivals in India to remind
themselves of Lord Buddha and his noble message that reached to far off
countries across the globe. The celebrations are seen to be linked with Lord
Buddha and the Bodhisattvas who abide on the earth until everyone else is
liberated. On the one hand, the events happen to be an opportunity for the
whole Buddhist community to come together and strengthen the religious ties
among themselves. On the other, it makes them recollect the noble path that
Lord Buddha chose to lead and advised others to follow.
India, as a whole, is an eclectic mix of numerous traditions and cultures.
Buddhism and the traditions that the faith follows add much to cultural
tapestry of the country. It is said that Lord Buddha spearheaded the
celebration himself and wished his adherents to continue the tradition
Some of major Buddhist festivals celebrated in India are as
Buddha Purnima :
The Buddha Jayanti or the Buddha Purnima is the most sacred and the most
significant festival of the Buddhists. The festival marks the birth
anniversary of Lord Buddha. The Buddha Purnima falls on the full moon day of
the Hindu month of Vaisakha. According the Georgian calendar, the event
takes place during April/ May. The day commemorates three major event of
Lord Buddha's life - his birth, his enlightenment and his attaining Nirvana
at the age of 80. Lord Buddha is not looked upon as a god but a man of truth
and noble thoughts. A man who, through his power of wisdom, had found the
answers to the adversities of life. And truly so, Buddhism is more of a
philosophy than being a religion.
Hemis Festival :
The Hemis Festival is celebrated every year in Ladakh in the state of Jammu
& Kashmir. The festival marks the birth anniversary of Guru Rimpoche,
the founder of the Tibetan Buddhism. It falls in the 5th Tibetan month
(June/ July) and spans from the 9th to the 11th day of the very month.
Festivities include mask dances that mark the victory of good over evil. The
whole celebrations take place in the premises of the ancient Hemis Gompa,
which is also the wealthiest in Ladakh.
Losar Festival :
Festival, also known as the Monpa Festival, is a major festival of the
Tibetan Buddhists. The word 'Losar' is a combination of two words of the
Tibetan language. 'Lo' refers to 'new' while 'Sar' means 'year'. The Losar
Festival celebrates the arrival of the New Year. People preen themselves and
wear new clothes. They also pay visits to the monasteries, stupas and other
Buddhist shrines to perform oblations. People make merry and enjoy ghutuk (a
special traditional drink). A lot of other religious rites are observed and
the Dalai Lama wishes them all a prosperous life ahead.
Ullambana Festival :
The Ullambana Festival is another important Buddhist festival. Followers of
Buddhism believe that on this auspicious occasion the 'Gates of the Hell'
are opened and the dead visit their near and dear ones. Therefore, Buddhists
make offerings to the spirits of the dead and the hungry ghosts. The concept
of the festival has been generated by the Mahayana Buddhists and is based on
the story of
'Mahamaudgalyayana saving his Mother'. The legend of Ullambana has passed
to far off countries over the ages and the festival is celebrated by the
Buddhist community all over.
Buddhism involves a number of other religions and celebrations that are
held all over the world. These festivities attempts to bring the Buddhist
community together and strengthen their noble bonding. Various myths and
legends are found to be attached with the celebrations. Partaking in these
festivals also gives one a chance of gaining an insight into the history and
culture of Buddhism.