Celebrated In: India
Celebrated By: Bodh (Buddha)
A festival celebrated by the Buddhists, Ullambana is primarily observed in many countries, such as China, Japan, India, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Malaysia. The word Ullambana is derived form a Sanskrit word which literally means "deliverance from suffering". Thus, this festival is generally celebrated to provide salvation to the anguished souls of near and dear ones in Hell and obtain liberation for them. The Buddhists commemorate this festival with immense dedication following the Mahayana traditions.Commemorated with immense devotion and magnificence, the Ullambana festival is observed for fifteen days in the seventh month of the Buddhist lunar calendar. The celebrations begin on the 15th day of the month known as Ghost Day and continue for the next fifteen days. Thus, the seventh month is generally referred to as the Ghost Month in the Chinese tradition. The legend of Ullambana takes one back to the time of Gautama Buddha where he instructed his disciple Maudgalyayana for obtaining liberation for his mother who was reborn into a lower realm. It was due to Maudgalyayana's offerings made to the sangha on the 15th day of the seventh month that his mother achieved salvation and gained a human birth.Food and drinks are also offered while hell bank notes and other forms of joss paper are burnt. One can find houses, cars, servants and televisions made of paper being burnt also. On the 14th day, a grand feast is organized for the ghosts and to ward off evil spirits. These days, some East Asian countries organize live performances inviting the entire community. The most interestingly part of these performances is that the first few rows are left empty to seat the ghosts.