Thadingyut festival

The three-day Thadingyut festival was celebrated in Myanmar from October 8 to 10 this year.

Key facts

  • The Thadingyut Festival is also called the Lighting Festival of Myanmar.
  • People in Myanmar celebrate this festival every year on the full moon day of the Burmese lunar month of Thadingyut.
  • It is celebrated at the end of the Buddhist sabbath, mainly by Buddhist communities in Southeast Asia during the 3-month long monsoon period that usually starts in July and ends in October.
  • Thadingyut Festival is the second most popular festival in Myanmar after Thingyan Festival (New Year Water Festival).
  • It is believed that Buddha’s mother, Maya, passed away just a week after his birth. She was reborn as a god named Santusita in the ‘Trayastrimsa Heaven’. Buddha’s ascension to heaven to visit his mother is celebrated as Dhammasetkya Day, which falls on Waso Month. 
  • Dhammasetkya Day marks the start of the 3 months of Buddhist Lent (Vassa) when monks retreat to their monasteries and dedicate themselves to meditation and study.
  • Buddha visited his mother in the Trayastrimsa Heaven and spent three months there to deliver sermons based on Abhidhamma teachings.
  • Thadingyut Festival is celebrated to welcome Buddha’s return to Earth from Trayastrimsa Heaven.
  • The celebrations last for three days – the day before the full moon, the full moon day, and the day after the full moon.
  • It is believed that Buddha returned to Earth on the full moon night of Thadingyut.
  • This day marks the conclusion of the Buddhist Lent.

About Buddhist Lent (Vassa)

The Buddhist Lent is observed for three months, from the Burmese months of Waso to Thadingyut. It is usually celebrated from July to October. It is a 3-month-long annual retreat by the practitioners of the Theravada school of Buddhism. During these three months, monastics retreat into a monastery or temple, with some dedicating this period to a long and intensive meditation.

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