Bodhi Day is celebrated annually on December 8th in Japan, according to the Gregorian calendar. It is a holiday celebrating the enlightenment of the Buddha, Gautama Shakyamuni.
At the age of 29, Gautama Shakyamuni left the territory of his palace in search of enlightenment and closer connection to the Almighty. He gave up his home, family, and all worldly possessions to pursue his journey. He studied meditation and begged for alms. After six years of seclusion, he finally achieved awakening under a tree called “Bodhi”. He described three stages of awakening: the first was the realization of his past lives; the second was an understanding of the importance of life and how to live correctly; and the third was the comprehension of the truth.
- The holiday is celebrated on the eighth day of the twelfth lunar month.
- The tree under which the Buddha sat has not survived.
- In monasteries, ficuses are planted in memory of the Buddha, as they are considered sacred plants.
- On December 8, people in Japan decorate trees with lanterns.
How to take part
On Bodhi Day, believers visit temples, turn to the Buddha statue, worship the sacred tree, repeat Buddhist texts, and meditate. Tea and cakes are put on the tables, and scriptures are read during the meal. It is believed that the trees around are filled with healing power, able to show the way to tranquility.
When is Bodhi Day celebrated in 2023?
Bodhi Day is observed on December 8 each year.