Bangladesh Buddhist Association

Maghiya Punnama

The Maghiya Punnama or the full moon day of Magha (January-March) is significant because the Buddha announced on this full moon day that he would pass away in three months time. Rites, rituals and festivals on all full moon day are similar. Besides, the Uposatha (Sabbath or fasting) is generally observed on the full moon day and on the 18th, 14th/15th and 23rd days of the luner month by the middle aged and elderly persons. In all there are 48 (4 x 12) Uposathas in a year. The main object of the Uposatha is to attain merit for salvation and also to achieve worldly fame and gain. During the Uposatha days, the fasters assemble in the monasteries to say their prayers, recite suttas (verses) and take the vows of eight precepts from the resident monk there. Some stay there whole night and return home next morning after worshipping the image of the Buddha with flowers, lighting candles and burning incense. The observance of Uposatha was prevalent among non-Buddhist sects even before the advent of the Buddha and Buddhists adopted this practice.