The religion of Buddhism is eminently and largely followed by a major part of the population of many countries. In some countries, Buddhism is considered as the prominent existing religion.
These different countries holding values and principles of Buddhism celebrate New Year on different days of a year. Basically, dates of New Year are drawn on the basis of luni-solar Buddhist calendar, which varies from one country to another.
Buddhist following countries of Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Burma, Thailand, and Lao has extended three days New Year celebrations. They celebrate it on the day of the first full moon of the April month of Georgian calendar. Alternatively, all Mahayan countries have their New Year celebration slotted for the day of the first full moon of the January month of the Georgian calendar. Natives of China, Vietnam, and Korea celebrate it either in the month of January or in the early part of the February month, and those belonging to the Tibet region celebrate it in the month of March.
New Year Celebrations in Buddhist
Apart from their respective geographical culture, lots of Buddhist customs and traditions are also notably displayed and followed in the New Year celebrations of these countries. Also, one common aspect as reflected in these celebrations is the cheerfulness, splendor, and joy with which they are celebrated. Apart from the social celebrations, private celebrations also reflect a lot of pomp and zeal. Lots of preparations and lots of efforts over a period are communally engaged to ensure splendid and enthralling New Year celebrations. While some countries have a one day New Year celebration, others have more than a day dedicated to it. Each of the days as celebrated as a part of New Year, holds a certain cultural significance and name of its own.
Traditional New Year Celebrations in Buddhist
Any New Year celebration, whether social or private, initiates after offering prayers and worship to Lord Buddha. According to Buddhist traditions, no celebrations or festivals are considered to be complete until and unless one lights up candles in the temples and monasteries, as doing so is considered to be a symbol of showing love and respect to the blessed souls and to the supreme power. Also, it is considered to bless petitioner with good luck and happiness for the coming time. The same goes for New Year celebrations as well. On New Year day, people in Buddhist countries make a visit to temples and monasteries, bath Buddha statues, offer prayers and worship to Lord Buddha, and call for getting conferred with happy and peaceful times ahead. All other mighty deities are also worshipped, and people sing songs to mark their homage and admiration to them. Most of these songs are directed towards glorifying the powers and abilities of Buddhist deities.
On the day of Buddhist New Year, people take a look on their past lives, and try to identify and rectify the mistakes. Other than that, people buy new clothes, clean up and decorate their households and surroundings, and visit all close friends and families to mark their wishes and share gifts on New Year. Bursting firecrackers is another important part of traditional New Year celebrations. People gather on streets, or in neighborhoods, to light up firecrackers as soon as the clock at the midnight turns twelve. It is followed by New Yeas wishes with all those present around. There is also a customary part to celebrations, as a part of which special sweet dishes for the occasion are prepared to be served at Buddhist New Year Feast.
New Year in Buddhist: Thailand and Tibet
In Thailand, New Year is called as ‘Songkran’, which falls in and around the month of April of Georgian calendar. In Thailand, an extended three days celebration is made. People clean their houses; buy new clothes, visit temples, and make a visit to houses of near and dear ones to exchange gifts and wishes. There is a popular tradition of throwing water on one another, with a belief that doing so will purify one’s soul from all sins and evil energies. With the arrival of New Year at midnight, Thais wish each other with ‘Sawatdee pi Maï’ or Happy New Year.
In Tibet, it is referred as ‘Losar’ or ‘Tibetan New Year’, which falls in and around the month of March of Georgian calendar, as decided by the Tibetan calendar. Just like Thailand, Tibet also holds extended New Year celebrations of few days. Preparation for celebrations, and celebrations itself initiate a few days before the key day. Special dishes are prepared, and are offered to monks. Houses are decorated and illuminated with candles and fancy colorful lights. There is a tradition as a part of which traditional stage fights, dances, and firecrackers shows are conducted in different regions of Tibet as a part of New Year celebrations.