Decorate your Bohdi tree, and sit and ponder the path to enlightenment…
When: December 8th every year.
Where: India and other Buddhist countries.
Bodhi Day commemorates the day that Siddhartha Guatauma, experienced enlightenment, or “Bodhi” and became the Buddha (or the enlightened one).
According to the legend, Siddhartha sat under a Pipul (Sacred Fig) tree and meditated to find the root of all suffering, thus liberating himself. He was able to ignore all distractions of greed, anger, restlessness and any other desire on his path to enlightenment.
Some claim that Siddhartha made a great vow to nirvana and to the Earth in order to to find roots of his suffering. Others claim that he was able to discover himself by meditating deeper and deeper into his own roots to find inner peace.
This day is not celebrated as much as the Buddha’s birthday (Wesak Day), but many Buddhists will meditate on this day, chant Buddhist texts or study the Dharma. In Buddhist homes, you will sometimes see a Sacred Fig tree. On Bodhi Day, these trees are decorated with multi-colored lights and strung with beads to symbolise the way all things are united. They are hung with three shiny ornaments to represent the Three Jewels – The Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha.
The Mahabodhi Temple (“Great Awakening Temple”) is a Buddhist temple in Bodh Gaya, India where Siddhartha Gautama attained enlightenment around 2,500 years ago. Next to the temple, to its western side, is the holy Bodhi tree where he sat.
Bhodhi day is the 8th day of the 12th lunar month but has been given a fixed date in the Gregorian calendar of December the 8th every year.
A meal of rice and milk is traditional as according to Buddhist legend the Buddha was offered this upon his awakening to help him regain strength. Buddhists are vegetarian so you could try our Sabzi Kari (vegetable curry) recipe. While Buddhists frown on the consumption of anything that clouds the mind (eg alcohol) nothing is forbidden to them and in some stories even Buddha drank wine.
Travel to India
Enjoy your trip! And when you’re home we’d love you to come back and tell us all about it!