Buddhist Dharma Dates 2022: clearing the confusion on lunar calendars

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.

Buddha Weekly Loi Krathong Festival on Khlong Ong Ang Canal dreamstime m 169884155 Buddhism
Loi Krathong Festival on the Khlong Ong Ang Canal — an ancient ceremony of floating sacred vessels to worship the Buddha’s hair pagoda in heaven.

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

 

Buddha Weekly Paro Tsechu is one of the Tsechu is a Buddhist festival for Guru Rimpoche who brought Buddhism to Bhutan dreamstime m 126929481 Buddhism
Para Tsechu is a Buddhist Festival honoring the great Guru Rinpoche who brought Buddhism to Bhutan (in the picture) and Tibet.

 

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

 

Buddha Weekly Tsog and important Dharma dates page feature image Buddhism
View our in-depth Lunar Dates calendar for 2022 featuring Buddhist sacred days from different traditions: Theravadan, Mahayana, Vajrayana. The detailed calendar is here>>

 

Annual Days

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.

 

Buddha Weekly Celebrating light and Buddha Monks in Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam dreamstime m 64353418 Buddhism
Celebrating light and the Buddha — monks in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.

 

Eclipse Days

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

 

Lama Zopa at Lama Chopa Tsog puja
H.E. Lama Zopa Rinpoche at Lama Chopa Tsog. Tsog’s are celebrated in Tibetan Buddhism every lunar month on the lunar 10th and 25th. For a detailed feature on Tsog, see>>

 

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.

 

Buddha Weekly Buddha full moon. jpg Buddhism
Buddha statue against a full moon. Lunar calendar is very important in Buddhism, with most major events celebrated according to the lunar calendar.

 

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.

 

Buddha Weekly Green Tara video Buddha Weekly Buddhism
Tara’s day every month is the eighth lunar day. Many monasteries celebrate both Tara and Medicine Buddha pujas on this day — for the benefit of all sentient beings. Tara is the savior Buddha, the Wisdom Mother. For more about Tara, see our special section on Tara>>

 

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Lee Kane

Author | Buddha Weekly

Lee Kane is the editor of Buddha Weekly, since 2007. His main focuses as a writer are mindfulness techniques, meditation, Dharma and Sutra commentaries, Buddhist practices, international perspectives and traditions, Vajrayana, Mahayana, Zen. He also covers various events.
Lee also contributes as a writer to various other online magazines and blogs.

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