Full Moon of Waso
Holiday in Myanmar Monday, 3 Aug 2020
This day, the first full moon of the fourth month in the Burmese calendar, commemorates the Buddha’s first sermon to five monks in the Deer Park in Benares, India and the founding of the Buddhist sangha (monkhood) about 2,500 years ago.
In the sermon, which is known as ‘Setting the Wheel of Dhamma in Motion’, the Buddha first spelled out the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path.
Waso Full Moon Day also marks the beginning of Buddhist lent (Wasso), which generally coincides with the height of Myanmar’s rainy season. Buddhist Lent last for three months from the full moon of Waso until the full moon of Thadingyut. It is normally a time of heightened religious activity around the country. Pilgrims throughout the country gather wild flowers to offer at pagodas and offer new robes to monks. The robes offered to monks in the month of Waso are called Waso robes.
Almost all monks will not leave the grounds of their monastery during this time. During Lent, many Buddhists will abstain from eating meat, drinking alcohol or smoking. It is also traditionally a time when Myanmar people are not allowed to move house. No weddings, feasts, or festivals are celebrated during Buddhist Lent, and people try to follow the Five Precepts more conscientiously.