7 Highly Revered Buddhist Festivals Celebrated In India and Nepal
When it comes to connecting with one’s spiritual senses, no other religion in the world has had an impact on people as much as Buddhism has! Buddhism is being openly followed by people from different backgrounds no matter which religion they belong to. Buddhist Festivals Celebrated In India and Nepal, the most powerful reason that has contributed to the popularity of this religion is its core principles – peace, non-violence and detachment from material pleasures.
These principles offer a perfect re-course from the stresses of modern life which is why it holds greater application for the younger generation. Today, this religion has millions of followers around the world, most of whom reside in India and Nepal.
The religion was birthed in India after Lord Buddha attained spiritual awakening in Bodhgaya. Later, he traveled to many other places to spread the teachings related to Buddhism. However, religion is not just limited to meditation, prayers and the teachings as many people might believe it to be.
The followers of this religion celebrate some festivals with great fervor and devotion. Witnessing these festivals is elementary if one wants to gain insight into the “Buddhist way of living”. These festivals reflect the culture, lifestyle, and rituals followed by Buddhists in the grandest way possible.
Below is a list of some prominent Buddhist festivals celebrated in India and Nepal which one must attend in a Buddhist Pilgrimage tours India that showcases the depth of the religion.
1. Buddha Purnima
Buddha Purnima or Buddha Jayanti is the most auspicious Buddhist festival that marks the birth of Lord Buddha, his enlightenment and death. The festival falls on the day of the full moon in the month of April or May. Prayers are conducted at temples and other Buddhist places all over India including Kushinagar, Sarnath, Bodh Gaya, and Sikkim.
In Nepal, the festival denotes huge significance for the locals as it is the birthplace of Lord Buddha. Huge processions are carried out and discourses are delivered by monks. Temples are decorated with lights and flowers and offerings of butter lamps, rice coins and flowers are made by devotees. The followers discuss and reflect on the teachings of Lord Buddha and their application in the modern world.
Festival Date : 7th May 2020
Suggested tour: Buddhist tour Packages ( 4Days to 15 Days )
2. Hemis Festival
The most vibrant Buddhist festival that must be witnessed for a deeper understanding of the religion is the Hemis festival. This event is celebrated every year in the month of June in Ladakh to honor the birthday of Lord Padmasambhava, who successfully conquered the evil forces. The festival kicks off as a two-day event with large processions and plays at Hemis monastery that signifies the victory of good over evil.
The music, masked dances, and colors displayed in this festival give a peek into the rituals and traditions observed by Buddhists in the Ladakh region. On the first day, a huge portrait of Lord Padmasambhava is placed outside the monastery for visitors to offer prayers and seek blessings. The observance of prayers and other rituals associated with the festival is believed to bring spiritual, physical and mental harmony.
Festival date : 30th June – 7th July 2020
Suggested Tour: Hemis Festival Ladakh Tour – (10days/9Nights)
3. Losar Festival
Losar festival bears great significance for Tibetan Buddhists as it marks the arrival of Tibetan new year. This festival is celebrated at prominent Buddhist sites in India and Nepal. It’s one lively event that showcases Buddhist rituals and culture with a series of colorful performances that leave everyone stunned with their magnificence.
The brightest form of this festival is observed in Ladakh, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim where a large number of people gather to witness the grand celebrations. In Nepal, the Losar festival is observed by different communities who celebrate this festival in their own unique way. These communities have given a different name to this festival like Tamu Lochar, Sonam Lochar, and Gyalpo Lochar. Attending these three versions of the New year festival in the Buddhist India Nepal Tour gives plenty of avenues for visitors to understand the distinct aspects of Buddhist culture.
Festival Date : 24th – 26th February 2020
Suggested Tour: Buddhist India Nepal Tour – (13 Days/ 12Nights)
4. Lumbini Festival
An illustrious festival that celebrates Buddhist teachings is observed in Andhra Pradesh known as the Lumbini festival. Named after the place where Lord Buddha was born, this festival is a perfect opportunity to gain insight on the customs and traditions followed by Buddhists specifically in this part of India. The festival commemorates the 2000-year-old past of Andhra Pradesh when Buddhism was a dominant religion.
Apart from portraying Buddhist religion, this festival is a perfect conglomeration of art, culture, and cuisine of Andhra Pradesh. The exhibitions and craft displays at this three-day event are major crowd pullers. The main venue of the Lumbini festival is Nagarjuna sagar near Hyderabad. Tourists begin to flock in a couple of days preceding the festival to watch every little ritual and ceremonies pertaining to the festival in your Buddhist Tour India.
Festival Date: date for 2020 to be announced
5. Parinirvana Day
This festival marks the death of Lord Buddha when he achieved a state of deathlessness. Parinirvana day is celebrated to honor the ideology set by Lord Buddha that death should not be mourned. The day is spent with prayers and feasts at temples. Remembering the deceased and praying for their peace is an important part of this event.
The main focus of this festival is reflecting on the teaching of Buddhism that ‘everything in this life is impermanent’. It also teaches to detach oneself from worldly things and relations. Readings from Buddhist scriptures are carried out on this day highlighting the final days of Lord Buddha. Kushinagar is the best place to observe this festival as Lord Buddha spent his final days here before he was laid to rest at Ramabhar stupa.
Festival Date: 15th February 2020
Suggested Tour: Buddhist Pilgrimage Tour – (9 Days/8 Nights)
6. Rumtek Chaam Festival
This festival is celebrated at the Rumtek monastery in Sikkim two days before Tibetan New Year. It features a special chaam dance performed by masked monks portraying victory of good over evil. A brilliant aspect of this festival is that it showcases the culture of Buddhists residing in Sikkim which holds a very unique character. People make generous offerings at the monastery and prayers are conducted to honor Guru Rimpoche.
This occasion gives you a chance to watch the merrymaking that goes on before the new year. Buddhist followers dress up elaborately and decorate their houses to mark this festival which is a visual treat for anyone who visits the place during the Rumtek Chaam festival. Gifts are exchanged and feasts are arranged as a part of the celebrations, adding a great deal of enthusiasm to the festivities.
Festival Date: 22nd February 2020
Suggested Tour: Sikkim Buddhist Sites
7. Mani Rimdu Festival
The Sherpa community of Nepal ardently celebrates the Mani Rimdu festival that derived its name from a chant of Guru Chenrezig. Its the longest festival that depicts the teachings of Buddhism through dance performances and enactments presented in all the days of the festival. A large mandala is made with colored sand which takes about four days to complete. A bowl of red blessing pills is placed at the center of the Mandala which is showered on the devotees to bless them.
This ritual is followed by dance presentations. Feasts and prayers are conducted at the monastery. At the end of the festival, a special fire ritual is observed to destroy evil forces. It’s a must to be a part of this festival in India Nepal Buddhist Tour to gain a better perspective on the customs practiced by Buddhists in Nepal.
Festival Date : 12-14th Nov. 2020
Suggested Tour: Nepal Mani Rimdu Festival – (11 Days/10Nights)
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