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Buddha Purnima Or Buddha Jayanti, Hemis Festival at Ladakh linked with Guru Rimpoche at Hemis Gompa, Losar Festival or Monpa Festival as Tibetan New Year Festival, Ullambana Festival when 'Gates of the Hell' are opened are some Buddhist Festivals.
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Home :: Buddhist Information Guide :: Buddhist Festivals in India

Buddhist Festivals in India

Buddhist FestivalsThe 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 forever after.

Some of major Buddhist festivals celebrated in India are as follows :

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 :
Buddhist Festivals at AloobariLosar 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.

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