Buddhist Lent Day or Wan Khao Phansa is a Buddhist festival which marks the beginning of Buddhist retreat period known as Buddhist Lent, Vassa, or Phansa. During Buddhist Lent, all Buddhist monks are committed to stay in a particular temple and are not allowed to stay overnight anywhere else for three lunar months. Since Buddhist Lent always coincides with the rainy season, the period is sometimes referred to as Rains Retreat.
2013 Buddhist Lent Day Date
Buddhist Lent Day is celebrated on the day after Asanha Bucha which falls on the full moon of the eight month in Buddhist calendar. In Gregorian calendar, Buddhist Lent Day usually falls on July.
When is Buddhist Lent Day 2014 / Wan Khao Phansa 2014?
Buddhist Lent Day 2014 falls on Saturday, 12 July 2014.
Origin of Buddhist Lent Day
It is believed that the celebration of Buddhist Lent Day and Buddhist Lent period began when a group of people complained to Lord Buddha when Buddha was staying at Veluvana Temple in Magadha State. They complained that the Buddhist monks kept traveling during rainy season while the friars from the other religions took retreat.
The Buddhist monks also walked through the farmer’s rice fields during the growing season and caused certain damages to the paddies. Thus, Buddha obliged the monks to stop traveling during rainy season and take retreat on a temple. This tradition continues, and the period of the monks’ retreat is known as Buddhist Lent period.
Buddhist Lent Day Tradition
Some Asian countries including Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia celebrate Buddhist Lent Day annually, but it is not a public holiday. On this day, many people offer foods and the other necessities to the monks. There is also a tradition to offer rain-bathing clothes to the monks and perform candles procession on Buddhist Lent Day.
During Buddhist Lent period, Buddhist monks are required to stay at the same temple than wander from place to place. In today’s celebration, the monks may go out during the day, but they sleep at the same temple for three lunar months. Meanwhile, the Buddhists celebrate the Lent period by holding themselves from eating meat, drinking alcohol, or having cigarettes for three months.