Lord Buddha’s Parinirvana is a national public holiday in the overwhelmingly Buddhist kingdom of Bhutan. And in fact, this holiday ranks as one of the most celebrated days of the year in the country.
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Lord Buddha’s Parinirvana always falls on day 15 of month four on Bhutan’s traditional calendar, but its date varies on the Gregorian Calendar. Often it lands sometime in May or June.
The basis for the holiday is the Buddhist belief that it was on this day, many centuries ago, that Buddha gained enlightenment and achieved “nirvana”. Buddhists believe that their great leader was born on this day as well.
For Lord Buddha’s Parinirvana, many in Bhutan will go on pilgrimage to various Buddhist holy sites and temples to pray there and seek a blessing. Religious idols and relics will also be put on display to bestow a blessing, and many in Thimphu will gather at the Buddhist monastery and fortress of Tashichhodzong.