Magha Puja, the Fourfold Festival of Buddhists:
Magha Puja is an important festival celebrated by Buddhists. Generally, this festival celebrates on the full moon day of the third month in March. According to the legends of
Gautama Buddha, once Lord Buddha, stayed in the deer park in Sarnath on the way to Rajagaha city. Then around 1250, arahants and the critical Buddha disciples Sariputta and Moggalana reached the place to worship Buddha. When they visited Gautama Buddha, they celebrated Puja to Gauthama Buddha. Then the enlightened Buddha delivered his lecture to the visitors and vanished their dogmas towards their lives. Then the appeased devotees celebrated puja to honour Lord Buddha. This event happened in Buddha’s early life, and the first puja was observed in ‘Magha’ month, so this puja has continued till now in the month of Magha.
History of Magha Puja:
This festival is also known as the fourfold Sangha day. According to the legendaries, the first Sangha indicates that all the 1250 Buddhists were arahants. The second Sangha says Buddha ordained all the 1250 Buddhists. Thirdly all the Buddhist followers gathered independently to conduct Puja to honour Lord Buddha even though Buddha did not invite them. Lastly, the fourth fold, Sangha, explains that all the 1250 Buddhist followers gathered on full moon day in the Magha month and celebrated Puja to Buddha. Hence Magha Puja has been celebrating the month of Magha.
Celebrations of Magha Puja:
The Buddhists celebrate the Magha Puja with a lot of pomp. It is a very significant festival for the Buddhist community. The festival especially honours the Sangha and Buddhist community. The Sangh plays a vital role in embodying Buddhist life’s tradition, culture and rules and protecting Dhamma’s principles.
On the day of Magha Puja, the devotees meet jointly and read the teachings of Lord Buddha. Later they discuss the theme of the Dhammapada. In the middle of the discussion, the senior devotees or monks deliver their speeches about the importance of Dhammapada and Sangh. Everyone wants to lead their lives in the service of Lord Buddha. Later in these discussions, the devotees exchanged gifts and lit oil lamps.