Sacred lunar days 2022: why they’re important, when and how to celebrate Buddha Days, Tsog Feasts, Puja Days in Tibetan, Mahayana, and Theravada Buddhist traditions
Lunar calendars can be confusing — especially since there are three systems: lunisiderial, lunisolar, and pure lunar. For this reason, our Lunar Dharma Dates calendar has different dates for Buddha Days, for example, since most of Asia and India use the lunisolar calendar while Tibetan Buddhism uses “skip days” and “double days” to make up for the difference in days between the lunar month/year and the solar. Since Tibetan Buddhism places a relatively larger emphasis on astrology and lunar, we have both the Lunisolar (traditional Chinese or Lunar calendar) and Tibetan Lunar dates indicated.
Multiple dates: varies by tradition
For example, this year (solar 2022) New Year in the West is January 1, 2022, while Chinese New Year is February 1, 2022, and Losar Tibetan New Year is March 3, 2022. For this reason, since the 15th Day of the Lunar New Year is special in Buddhism, they are marked differently for Tibetan Buddhists as compared to Mahayana Buddhists on the Chinese Lunar calendar. The 15th day in the Chinese Lunar Calendar marks Nirvana Day and Lantern Festival. In Tibetan Buddhism, the 15th Day of the First Month is the Day of Miracles.
New Year Confusion
If you like New Years’ celebrations, you’ll be happy to know we mark four separate New Years!
- Solar Calendar: January 1, 2022
- Mahayana New Year (generally): February 1, 2022
- Tibetan New Year: March 3, 2022
- Theravadan New Year: April 16, 2022
Special Buddha Days
The most important days of the Buddhist calendars — which are variously celebrated depending on the tradition) are always the Buddha Days:
- Nirvana Day (and Lantern Festival): February 15, 2022
- Magha Puja Day or Sangha Day: February 16, 2022
- Buddha’s Day of Miracles: March 18, 2022
- Vesak Buddha Day: May 16, 2022 (falls one month later on Tibetan calendar)
- Tibetan Vesak or Lord Buddha’s Birth, Enlightenment and Paranirvana Day (Tibetan): June 14, 2022
- Asala Dharma Day (Theravadan): July 13, 2022
- Lord Buddha’s Descent from God Real Day (Tibetan): November 15, 2022
In addition to the Buddha Days celebrated on various dates by all traditions, there are some sacred annual days unique to Tibetan Buddhism:
- Sakya Pandita Day: January 16, 2022
- Milarepa Day: March 17, 2022
- In the Japanese tradition, there is Obon or Ancestor Day, celebrating the ancestors, on August 13, 2022.
In Tibetan Buddhism, days of lunar and solar eclipse are especially good for practice, and all merit from these activities is magnified. Eclipses for 2022 include:
- April 30, 2022 Solar Eclipse
- May 16, 2022 Lunar Eclipse
- October 25, 2022 Solar Eclipse
Monthly Lunar Practices
Especially in Tibetan Buddhism, New Moon, Full Moon and 10th and 25th of the Lunar month are all important. For those with Highest Yoga Tantra commitments, the lunar 10th and 25th Tsog (Tsok) are commitments. The Tsog on the 10th is dedicated to the Dakas and the 25th to the Dakinis. The 10th is also monthly Guru Rinpoche Day.
The practices on the full moon are especially meritorious, and usually include Medicine Buddha Pujas and other auspicious activities. Full moon is on the 15th of any lunar month.
The Eighth of the lunar month is also auspicious for all pujas and is especially sacred to Tara — often called Tara Day. Medicine Buddha Pujas are also common on this day.