Festivals in Buddhism
Buddhism is a major religion in India and there are many sacred spots related directly to the Buddha that draw people from across India and the world. India has always drawn those interested in spiritualism and there are beautiful serene places here that are perfect for meditation. Buddhism in particular thrives in India and it was from here that it spread across the world particularly to Sri Lanka and the Far East. In India festivals are celebrated joyously and with great pomp and color. Buddhism exists in India alongside many other religions and major festivals in Buddhism are celebrated with equal fervor as well. As India is the birth place of Buddhism there are many important festivals relating to various important events in Buddhism and many of these also celebrate the life and the teachings of the Buddha.
Among the major festivals in India for Buddhism is Buddha Purnima. This festival celebrates the birth of the Buddha and this is decided by the lunar calendar. Every year in the month of Baisakh which falls in between April or May the full moon is marked as the birthday of the Buddha. Many also believe that he achieved Nirvana or Enlightenment on the same day. There are many fairs and festivals held in various parts of India to celebrate not only milestones in the Buddha’s life but also for other events in Buddhism. In keeping with India’s history of tolerance and acceptance of different cultures there are festivals that celebrate important days for Tibetan Buddhism. Famous among these is the Losar festival. The Losar festival celebrates the Tibetan New Year and this is a great site especially in the regions of Leh and Ladakh and in Dharamshala as these places have large Tibetan populations.
Ladakh also celebrates the Hemis fair that lasts for two days. The highlights of this fair are the dances by Buddhist monks that use various masks. This fair celebrates the birth of an important Buddhist saint called Guru Padmasambhava who was very active in spreading Buddhism in India. There are other festivals and fairs that are held at other important Buddhist spots in Sarnath, Lumbini, and Shravasti etc to commemorate important events in Buddhism.