History of the Magha Puja
Lord Buddha reached the Rajagaha city on post the first Rains Retreat (Vassa) at the Deer Park in Sarnath, Here, without seeking his consent, 1250 Arahats along with two of his main disciples, Ven. Sariputta and Ven. Moggalana, collected to pay their respect to him at the Veruvana Monastery. To this meeting, Buddha delivered his lecture, or recitation of the Patimokkha. The Magh Day Puja is celebrated to honor this event which took place early in the life of the Buddha.
This day is also known as the Magha Day, Four Fold Sangha or the Sangha Day. The Sangha had four special features. Firstly all the 1250 Buddhist followers were arahants. Secondly, it was Buddha who had ordained all of them. Thirdly all of them had gathered on their own accord. Buddha did not invite them. Lastly all of them had gathered on a full moon day in the Magha (March) month. Hence the Magha Day Puja is also referred to as Four Fold Sangha.
Significance of the Magha Puja
The Magha Puja festival is one of the most significant festivals celebrated by the Buddhist community. Magha Puja is an important Festival of Buddhists. This festival honors the Sangha as well as the Buddhist community. The Sangha is an important part of Buddhism as it embodies the rules and regulations of Buddhist life and also the much-revered principle of Dhamma. Magha Puja is celebrated in Thailand with lot of fervor.
Celebration of the Magha Puja
The festival is celebrated on the full moon day of the third lunar month (March). For the intended community, the festival is a chance to come jointly and carry out meetings to discuss a variety of aspects of the Buddhs's teachings, treat in group deliberation and listen to talks given by senior members of the community. The Sangha Day is also a time for exchange of gifts and lighting of oil lamps.