Myriads of holidays are celebrated throughout the whole year by the Buddhist community to pay respect to Buddha. During Buddhist Festivals, lay people go to temples or monasteries and donate food and money to the monks and take the Five Percepts and listen to a Dharma teching. In the afternoon, they give food the poor for merit and take part in a ceremony. In the evening, they will continue chant eulogies of the Buddhist teachings.
Vesak or Visakah Puja
Buddha’s birthday is traditionally regarded as Vesak Day or Visaka Puja, which is the most scared holy day of Theravada Buddhism. Since Vesak is to observe the birth, enlightenment and death of the Buddha, it is one of the major festivals of the year. It is celebrated on the first full moon day in May, or in June if it is a leap year.
On the full moon day of the third lunar month, Buddhists in Thailand, Cambodia and Laos celebrate this religious festival. This day is to commemorate one of the Buddha’s important events in his teaching life.
Asalha Puja Day
Known as ”Dhamma Day”, this holy day is to celebrate the Buddha’s first teaching on the full moon of the eighth lunar month(approximately July). The first teaching is the turning of the wheel of the Dhamma to the five ascetics.
Known as an observance day, this day is celebrated four times in a month: the new moon, full moon, and quarter moon days.
This day is observed on any convenient date. On this day, the laity offer new robes and other requisites to the monks.
On the full moon of the 7th month of the Burmese lunar year, lap people commemorate this day when the Buddha went to the a place namedTushita Heaven to teach the Abhidhamma to his mother.
This day takes places in all parts of Thailand on the full moon night when the rivers and canals are full of water. Lay people bring along with them the bowls full of leaves, candles and incense sticks to the bank and float them on the river. As the bowls go away, all bad luck is supposed to be gone too.
The Ploughing Festival
This day is to celebrate the Buddha’s first moment of enlightenment when he was seven years old.