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INDIAN FESTIVALS

 

BUDDHA PURNIMA

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Buddha Purnima or Buddha Jayanti, the birth anniversary of the Buddha, is celebrated in April/May. Referred as the Saga Dasa in Sikkimese and Vishakha Puja in the Thervada tradition, it is the most important of all the Buddhist festivals. Commemorating the birth, enlightenment and death of the Buddha, the day is considered more auspicious than any other day of the year. The celebration of this festival has been recorded by Fa-Hien. Sarnath in Uttar Pradesh and Bodh Gaya in Bihar are the main centres of its celebration. The rituals of this day include prayers, sermons on the life of Gautam Buddha, continuous recitation of Buddhist scriptures, meditation by monks and devotees and the worship of the statue of Buddha by offerings of incense, flowers, candles and fruit. The Bodhi tree is also revered. On this day, every sect of Buddhism in India observes some distinctive rituals. In the monasteries of Sikkim, the lamas recite the scriptures and the devotees light oil lamps in front of the statue of the Buddha. The Mahayana Buddhists organise a procession of monks with gyalings and rabdungs and read Kangyur texts. The Theravada Buddhists offer ceremonial prayers to the idol of Buddha.



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