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Holidays and Cultural Observances: Buddhist Holidays and Observances

Alphabetical listing of major observances

Descriptions taken from

Buddhist Holidays and Observances


Asalha Puja Day -- Buddhist observance of the day when Gautama Buddha made his first public proclamation to five ascetics at Deer Park, Banares. He taught the middle way, the noble eight-fold path and the four noble truths. 

Bodhi Day —  Buddhist celebration of the time when Prince Gautama took his place under the Bodhi tree, vowing to remain there until he attained supreme enlightenment.

Magha Puja Day -- Buddhist celebration of the presentation of teachings by Lord Buddha to an assembly of holy men.

New Year's Day -- Many Buddhists observe the Chinese New Year celebration.  Mahayana Buddhists and Theravada Buddhists, however, celebrate the New Year on other days. So the Buddhist celebration is generally dependent on the country of origin or ethnic background.

   Individuals may require time away from campus for travel and observance of the Buddhist New Year.

Nirvana Day -- a regional observance of the death of the Buddha.

Obon -- Japanese Buddhist festival to honor deceased ancestors. Involves lighting of bonfires, traditional meals, paper lanterns, folk dances.

Wesak or Buddha Day — Holiest of Buddhist holy days. It celebrates Buddha's birth, enlightenment and death. It is a public holiday in some countries.

For More Information


This guide is produced in partnership with the ASU Committee for Campus Inclusion (CCI), and The Council of Religious Advisors  (CORA).  The Committee for Campus Inclusion is an advisory group to the provost, promoting a positive, harmonious campus environment that celebrates individual and group diversity, promotes individualism, provides information to the campus community, and resolves issues in such a manner as to respect all persons and their dignity. For more information, please visit our website at Questions or additions to this resource can be submitted at

The Council of Religious Advisors is comprised of campus ministries and faith-based organizations that represent a diverse variety of faiths, traditions, and beliefs. Despite the differences in faiths that exist between them, the group works peacefully and diligently on behalf of the university community to provide religious services, spiritual counseling, education, support, and opportunities for involvement.

This page owes a great thanks to: 

Holly Hubenschmidt

Director, Library Instruction & Research Services

Webster University Libraries

Ms.  Hubenschmidt created the original LibGuide and template on which this guide is based. 


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