Mongolia celebrates Nirvana Day as public holiday for the first time

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Today is Nirvana Day of Buddha. This year, Mongolians celebrate the day as a public holiday for the first time.

In December 2019, Parliament approved amendments to the Law on Public Holidays. The amendment included Buddha Day, or the birth, enlightenment and death of Gautama Buddha, which falls on the 15th of the first month of summer each year, which usually falls in either late May or June according to Buddhist calendar, as a public holiday.

During the discussion, lawmakers pointed out that Buddha Day should be celebrated as a day to encourage compassion, empathy and kindness and promote love for Mother Nature, parents and family.

Nirvana Day is an annual Buddhist festival that marks the death of the Buddha when he reached Nirvana at the age of 81. It is also known as Parinirvana Day. It is celebrated by some Buddhists on February 15. Nirvana is believed to be the end of the cycle of death and rebirth.

It was on this day that Buddha was conceived, born, subdued evil, gained enlightenment and attained Nirvana. 

Passages from the Nirvana Sutra describing Buddha's last days of life are often read on Parinirvana Day. Other observances include meditation and visits to Buddhist temples and monasteries. Also, the day is a time to think about one's own future death and the deaths of loved ones. This thought process reflects the Buddhist teachings on impermanence.

In countries where Buddhists live in large numbers, the day is celebrated as a public holiday and is celebrated in various ways in other countries. It has been celebrated in Mongolia since 1990 and starting this year, it is a public holiday.

Misheel Lkhasuren