New Year occurs on different days in different countries following Buddhism. New Year in Theravadin countries, Thailand, Burma, Sri Lanka, Cambodia and Lao is celebrated for three days from the first full moon day in April. In Mahayan countries, New Year celebrations starts on the first full moon day in January. These countries celebrate the day according to their ethnic background and culture. People of China, Korea and Vietnam celebrate it in the month of January or early February while Tibetans usually celebrate a month later.
New Year is the time to hope best from the coming year. People reflect upon their past and rectify all their mistakes. It is observed with same spirit and gaiety in most of the countries. Buddhist New Year celebrations in different countries are briefly discussed below:
Songkran is the name of the New Year in Thailand. It occurs in the month of April and lasts for three days as per the Gregorian Calendar. New Year celebrations begin with cleaning of house. People perform various traditions and rituals to welcome the New Year. A most important tradition is to throw water on each other. This is done to purify the souls. Thais wish Sawatdee pi Maï or Happy New Year to every one.
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Losar or Tibetan New Year is another example of Buddhist New Year celebrations. It's date falls according to the Tibetan Calendar. Losar lasts for a couple of days and people completely splurge in the festive mood. New Year festivities begins a few days before the New Year's Day. Tibetans prepare special New Year dishes and offer food to the monks on the New Year's Day. People illuminate their houses with colorful lights. Some Tibetans also participate in traditional stage fights, dances and burst crackers to scare off the evil spirits.
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