Buddhist Festivals & Ceremonies
Buddhism has tended to merge into the everyday life of the countries where it has taken root. Buddhist festivals have religious, social and historical dimensions, and in some countries (e.g. Nepal) these are numerous and very colourful. The highpoint of the Buddhist calendar in Theravada countries is WESAK, when the birth, Enlightenment and passing away of the Buddha are celebrated. This generally falls on the full moon day of the month of May each year. In Mahayana (Northern) Buddhist countries, there are regional and other differences depending on the various schools and traditions of Buddhism as to how these great events are celebrated.
There are no universal Buddhist birth, marriage and death ceremonies (rites of passage). These also vary from country to country and from tradition to tradition. In many places, however, monks or priests will participate in some way, by chanting from the scriptures (sutras), giving blessings, delivering a sermon and so on: also the people involved may go to a Buddhist monastery or temple for some kind of ceremony.