Buddhism is a non- atheistic religion began with a man named Gautama, who was later on given the name ‘The Enlightened One’ and ‘The Awakened One’. Buddhism provides a way of life that leads to true happiness and focuses on personal, spiritual development. Today about 300 million people all around the globe follows the religion of Buddhism.

About Festival

There are many holy days celebrated throughout the year by the Buddhist community. Among them Abhidhamma Day is one of the most important days celebrated by the community. This day is quite special as it is believed that on this day, Buddha had gone to the Tushita heaven to teach his mother, the Abhidhamma Pitaka. Celebrated on the full moon day of the seventh month of the lunar year, it is a Theravada Buddhist tradition. The festival is primarily celebrated in Burmese. After preaching for three months, Buddha seeked permission from the king of celestial abode to leave. After hearing this three stairways were created by the king, each of silver, gold and ruby. Buddha selected the middle stairways. On descending from the celestial abode he made it possible for the human beings to see the celestial beings and vise versa.

Time of Celebration

According to Burmese lunar calendar the festival starts in April. The seventh month in the calendar coincides with October in Gregorian calendar.

Abhidhamma Pitaka

Abhidhamma Pitaka is the teachings given to his disciples by the Buddha. Here ‘abhi’ is used in the sense of excellent or higher which means ‘Atreka’ in Pali or exceeding or sublime and ‘Dhamma’ means Doctrine and teaching. Hence, Abhidhamma means the higher doctrine or the sublime teaching. It is named so, as it enables the people to achieve their deliverance, ‘Vimutti’. In Abhidhamma everything is minutely analyzed and only abstract terms like consciousness, matter etc are precisely explained.

How to celebrate?

Being one of the special festivals, Abhidhamma Day is celebrated at pagodas all across the country. This festival is celebrated to mark the end of Rain retreat of Buddhist Monk and to mark the Abhidhamma Day. On this day pagodas across the country are packed with Buddhist devotees. Oil lamps are lit at the pagodas dedicating Lord Buddha. The Buddhist devotees pay homage to the pagodas from dawn to dusk. They do meditation. They offer flowers, water and lights to the pagodas. Moreover some taxis and even bus-lines ferry passengers free of cost. At night buildings and roads in the city are illuminated. In order to mark the day traditionally. Nivarna markets are held. Special food is made. It is light- hearted celebration, where Buddhist performs the ceremonies in front of the statues. Hymns are sung in praise of Buddha and his teachings, the Dhamma. People carry out good deeds. The festival is the time of merry making, though it retains its spiritual characteristics.

Conclusion

So, in order to celebrate the festival with religious and cultural essence, we should try not to show bad behavior or speech that is contrary to our tradition and should strive spiritually for the attainment of higher standards of morality.