Magha Puja Festival, also known as Sangha Day, is one of the most sacred days of Buddhist and is hold in many countries such as Thailand, Campuchia and Laos. Magha Puja day is also called Fourfold Assembly Day.
This holiday occurs each year on the evening of the full moon of the third month of the lunar calendar. As with many Southeast Asian cultures, the traditional lunar calendar is often used to date holidays, celebrations and other festivities and this result in the date of each celebration changing form one year to the next. For 2012, Magha Puja occurs on February 18t, last year it was the 28th of February.
During this event, four good things happen:
(1) some 1250 men came to the Buddha without advanced notice
(2) the Buddha, himself, ordained the men as monks
(3) the Buddha gave special instructions or principles to the new monks and
(4) it was the full moon that night. The special principles given were to refrain from all evil, do things that are good and cleanse their minds.
To celebrate this festival, on the night of the full moon of the third lunar month, temples throughout Laos hold a special event. Monks and lay- Buddhists gather together and hold candles, incense and flowers then together they walk around a ceremonial hall. Three times the group circles the hall, clockwise, in honor of the Three Jewels of Buddhism: the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. There ear other similar ceremonies throughout the three nations, many involving people gathering at temples to honor the event, the history, the Teachings and the Buddha.