Buddha’s Birthday is a Buddhist festival that is celebrated in most of East Asia commemorating the birth of Prince Siddhartha Gautama who was the founder of Buddhism. The exact date of Buddha’s birthday is based on the Asian lunar calendar so the date for the celebration varies from year to year. In Mongolia, it falls on the 15th day of the first month of summer in the Mongolian Lunar Calendar (so this means the date changes in the western calendar). The 15th day in the Mongolian Lunar Calendar is also full moon.
The day is known as Ikh Duichen in Mongolia (it means Great Moment in Tibetan). Buddha’s birthday, the date of reaching enlightenment and the date of reaching nirvana are all celebrated in one day.
Sukhbaatar Square was the focus point of the start of the day’s celebrations in Ulaanbaatar. The day started with a flashmob meditation of a thousand people and then a parade of more than 1080 people from Sukhbaatar Square to Gandan Monastery where the focus will then be on the Migjid Janraisig Süm. (108 is considered a sacred number in Buddhism. Although the number’s significance is open to interpretation, it is said to represent the 108 human passions.)
All images are of Gandantegchinlen Monastery and taken by our guests Nick Rains and Paul Allerton.
We include Gandantegchinlen Khiid on our free city walking tour that we offer to all EL guests. Why not see what else we offer in Ulaanbaatar on our Mongolia one-day tours?