Today is ...

5 June

Bhutan celebrates Lord Buddha’s Parinirvana, a public holiday commemorating the Nirvana of Gautama Buddha.  It celebrates the day when the Buddha is said to have achieved Parinirvana, or complete Nirvana, upon the death of his physical body.  Passages from the Nirvana Sutra describing the 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 on the deaths of loved ones. This thought process reflects the Buddhist teachings on impermanence.  Some Western Buddhist groups also celebrate Parinirvana Day.

India (states of Chhattisgarh, Himachel Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab) celebrates Sant Kabir Jayanti, the birthday of Saint Kabir das.  It is observed on the Jyeshta Purnima day. Sant Kabir was born near Benaras or Varanasi in a Muslim community.  Kabir was Brahmin or Sufi, Vedantist or Vaishnavite.  He is believed to have lived during the 15th century AD.  He was a weaver by profession.  Sant Kabir wrote numerous poems extolling the greatness of the oneness of the Supreme Being.   He was a revolutionary saint, poet and religious reformer.  Sant Kabir accepted all religions.  Kabirdas called himself the child of Lord Ram and Allah. On Sant Kabir Jayanti meetings, satsangs, and recital of Sant Kabir’s poems are held.

Legends of Sant Kabir Das

Saint Kabir Das reached the abode of God in Maghar close to Gorakhpur in 1518. However, immediate dispute began regarding the way in which his final rites must be performed.  It is believed that both Hindus and Muslims claimed the body to perform the funeral rites.  To their utter surprise, Kabir Das stood up and asked them to lift his body and view beneath.  Lying there was nothing but a beautiful array of flowers.  Devotees and his followers were speechless with Hindus taking some flowers to Varanasi and the rest of the flowers taken by Muslims to Maghar.

Kabir Das was influenced with various incidents throughout his life that made him even more popular.  In order to break his spiritual path, a beautiful courtesan had been sent to him with no effective results.  Similarly, he was taken to the court of Sikander Lodi after having been believed that he possessed some magical powers. Eventually, he was made to leave the city of Varanasi in the year 1495 after which he never returned.  During this period of his life, Kabir toured entire North India spreading oneness among people.

Mystical odes from Kabir Das made him an iconic character during the 15th century.  Displaying a mature way of thinking, he is best remembered for some of the one-liners he uttered in response to various queries from people in his own inimitable style.  For instance, he expressed his feelings beautifully in words such as “The Purana and The Koran are mere words” and God is “neither in Kaaba nor in Kailash”. All over his life, Kabir actively denounced both temples and mosques maintaining that God is in everyone and exists everywhere.

Mongolia observes Buddha Day.

Sri Lanka celebrates Poson Full Moon Poya Day which commemorate the introduction of Buddhism to Sri Lanka.

Past Days...

3 June

Thailand had a holiday to celebrate HM the Queen Suthida Bajrasudhabimalalakshana’s Birthday.

2 June

Malaysia (State of Sarawak) had another holiday for Gawai Dayak.

1 June

Australia (State of Western Australia) celebrated Western Australian Day (formerly known as Foundation Day), a public holiday in Western Australia, celebrated on the first Monday in June to commemorate the founding of the Swan River Colony in 1829. Because of the celebration of Western Australia Day, WA does not celebrate the Queen's Birthday Holiday in June, as most states do; it is held in September or October instead.  The Australian Capital Territory had a holiday to observe Reconciliation Day.

Brunei had a holiday for Royal Armed Forces Day.

Indonesia celebrated Pancasila Day.

Malaysia (State of Sarawak) celebrated Gawai Dayak a festival celebrated by Dayaks in Sarawak on 1 June every year. It is both a religious and social occasion.  The idea for Gawai Dayak started back in 1957 in a radio forum held by Tan Kingsley and Owen Liang, a radio programme organiser. This generated a lot of interest among the Dayak community. Up until 1962, the British colonial government refused to recognize the Dayak Day but instead called it the Sarawak Day which was meant to be celebrated by all Sarawakians as a national day. The first Gawai was hosted by Datuk Michael Buma, a Betong native, at his house at Siol Kandis, Kuching on June 1, 1963, before it was officially gazetted on 25 September 1964 as a public holiday in place of Sarawak Day after the formation of the Federation of Malaysia.  It was first celebrated on 1 June 1965 and became a symbol of unity, aspiration and hope for the Dayak community. Today, it is an integral part of the Dayak social life. It is a thanksgiving day marking a bountiful harvest and a time to plan for the new farming season or other endeavors ahead.

Mongolia celebrated Mothers and Children's Day.

31 May

Brunei celebrated Royal Brunei Armed Forces Day.  The formation of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces took place on May 31, 1961. Brunei had been a British protectorate since 1888, dependent on the British armed forces for its defense. In 1961, some 60 Brunei recruits began training as part of a transition period toward complete independence for the country, which occurred in 1984. The Royal Brunei Armed Forces maintain close ties with the British military forces, as well as those of Malaysia and Singapore. They also regularly cooperate in exercises with the armed forces of New Zealand, Australia, and the United States. The formation of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces is commemorated each year. Around the country, there may be parades and military displays put on by various units of the armed forces. In the capital city of Bandar Seri Begawan, the occasion is usually commemorated at the Taman Haji Sir Omar Ali Saifuddien in the city center. Events include a military parade and such military demonstrations as parachuting exhibitions or mock battles. In 2007, the Royal Brunei Armed Forces marked the anniversary by giving special presents to those children who were celebrating their first birthday on that day. The children were given special souvenirs of the occasion, and bank accounts were opened in their names.

Malaysia (Labuan Territory and State of Sabah) continued to celebrate Harvest Festival (Pesta Menuai).

30 May

Malaysia (Labuan Territory and State of Sabah) celebrated Harvest Festival (Pesta Menuai).

28 May

End of Ramadan – a Muslim festival that marks the end of fasting was celebrated in many countries in Asia:

  • Maldives (on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr)

27 May

End of Ramadan – a Muslim festival that marks the end of fasting was celebrated in many countries in Asia:

  • Brunei (Hari Raya Aidil Fitri) - holiday
  • Maldives (on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr)
  • Pakistan (Eidul Fitr) – holiday

26 May

End of Ramadan – a Muslim festival that marks the end of fasting was celebrated in many countries in Asia:

  • Bangladesh (Eid-ul-Fiter) - holiday
  • Brunei (Hari Raya Aidil Fitri) - holiday
  • India (state of Telangana) (Ramazan)
  • Malaysia (Hari Raya Puasa) - holiday
  • Maldives (on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr)
  • Pakistan (Eidul Fitr) – holiday

India (state of Punjab) had a public holiday titled the Martyrdom Day of Sri Guru Arjun Dev Ji, the first Sikkh martyr killed when he refused to convert to Islam in 1606 and described as a watershed event in the history of Sikkhism.

25 May

End of Ramadan – a Muslim festival that marks the end of fasting was celebrated in many countries in Asia:

  • Bangladesh (Eid-ul-Fiter)
  • Brunei (Hari Raya Aidil Fitri) - holiday
  • India (Id-ul-Fitr)
  • Indonesia – holiday
  • Malaysia (Hari Raya Puasa) - holiday
  • Maldives (on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr)
  • Nepal (Ramjan Edul Fikra)
  • Pakistan (Eidul Fitr)
  • Philippines (Eid’l Fitr)
  • Singapore (Hari Raya Puasa) - holiday
  • Sri Lanka (Id-ul-Fitr)
  • Indonesia (Cuti Bersama 2019)

India (states of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan) had a public holiday to commemorate Maharana Pratap Jayanti, an eminent ruler in the region in the 16th century.

24 May

End of Ramadan – a Muslim festival that marks the end of fasting was celebrated in many countries in Asia:

  • Bangladesh (Eid-ul-Fiter) – holiday (government)
  • Brunei (Hari Raya Aidil Fitri)
  • India (state of Kerala)
  • Indonesia
  • Malaysia (Hari Raya Puasa)
  • Maldives (Eid-ul-Fitr)
  • Singapore (Hari Raya Puasa)
  • Timor-Leste (Idulfitri)
  • Thailand

22 May

Bangladesh celebrated Jumatul Bidah.

India (state of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh) celebrated Jumat-ul-Wida and the state of Orissa celebrated Sabitri Amabasya.

21 May

Bangladesh celebrated Shab-e-Qadar (Night of Destiny).

India (state of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh) observed Shab-i-Qadar.

Indonesia observed Ascension of the Prophet Isra Mi’raj Nabi Muhammad.  Isra and Mi'raj, also known as Al Isra' wal Miraj, is observed on the 27th day of the month of Rajab, the seventh month in the Islamic calendar. This event marks the night that Allah (God) took Mohammad (also known as Mohamed or Muhammed) on a journey from Mecca to Jerusalem and then to heaven.

20 May

Timor-Leste celebrated Independence Restoration Day, the 13th Anniversary of the day that Timor-Leste’s Constitution came into force in 2002 and the country was given its sovereignty.  Portugal and many other countries organized campaigns in order to collect donations, provisions and books. Control of Timor-Leste was slowly taken with the progressive disarming of the militias and the beginning of the reconstruction of houses, schools and other infrastructures. Xanana Gusmão returned to the country, as well as other Timorese who had gone into exile, including many with university education. Elections were held for a Constituent Assembly that became responsible for drafting Timor-Leste’s Constitution.

14 May

Cambodia celebrated HM King Norodom Sihamoni's Birthday. This holiday was established in 1953.

11 May

Brunei had another holiday for Nuzul Al-Quaraan (Quran Revelation Day).

Cambodia had another holiday for Royal Ploughing Ceremony.

Thailand had a holiday for the Royal Ploughing Ceremony.  The Royal Ploughing Ceremony dates back over seven hundred years, with a brief interruption in the 19th century. The present King revived it in 1960, continuing a long royal tradition of ensuring the success of the new year’s rice planting season.  It’s more than just a religious ceremony – this ritual is a State-sponsored event involving highly-placed civil officials. The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives takes on the position of Lord of the Harvest; four single female Ministry officials are appointed Celestial Maidens to assist him. With half of Thailand’s people still dependent on farming for a living, the Royal Ploughing Ceremony is an important yearly event that honors the bond between the King, the government, and the farmers who sustain the country.

10 May

Brunei celebrated Nuzul Al-Quaraan (Quran Revelation Day).

Malaysia (states of Kelantan, Kuala Lumpur, Labuan Territory, Pahang, Putra Jaya, Perlis, Penang, Perak, Selangor, Terengganu) celebrated Nuzul Quran (Quran Revelation Day).

Cambodia celebrated Royal Ploughing Ceremony (Pithi Chrat Preah Neanng Korl) which is an ancient royal rite held in Cambodia to mark the traditional beginning of the rice-growing season.  In the ceremony, two sacred oxen are hitched to a wooden plough and they plough a furrow in some ceremonial ground, while rice seed is sown by court Brahmins. After the ploughing, the oxen are offered plates of food, including rice, corn, green beans, sesame, fresh-cut grass, water and rice whisky.  Depending on what the oxen eat, court astrologers and Brahmins make a prediction on whether the coming growing season will be bountiful or not. The ceremony is rooted in Brahman belief, and is held to ensure a good harvest.   In Cambodia the ceremony is typically presided over by the monarch, or an appointee, and has been overseen by both King Norodom Sihamoni and Prime Minister Hun Sen.

8 May

India (state of West Bengal) observed Rabindranath Tagor Jayanti.

Sri Lanka observed the Day Following Vesak Full Moon Poya Day.

7 May

'Buddha Day', a holiday observed traditionally by Buddhists in:

  • India (Buddha Purnima – in the states of Chhattisgarh, Chandigarh, National Capital Territory of Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal)
  • Indonesia (Buddha Day)
  • Malaysia (Wesak)
  • Singapore (Vesak Day)
  • Nepal (Buddha Jayanti)
  • Sri Lanka (Vesak Full Moon Poya Day)

Malaysia (state of Pahang) had a public holiday for Hari Hol Pahang

6 May

'Buddha Day', a holiday observed traditionally by Buddhists in:

  • Bangladesh (Buddha Purnima)
  • Cambodia (Visakh Bochea Day)
  • Laos (Visakhabousa Day)
  • Myanmar (Kasone/Kasong Full Moon Day)
  • Thailand (Visakha Bucha Day)

It commemorates the birth, enlightenment and death of Gautama Buddha.

Japan had a holiday for Children’s Day.

5 May

Bangladesh had another holiday for COVID-19.

China had another holiday for Labour Day.

Japan celebrated Children’s Day. This national holiday was established in 1948, as a day on which to esteem the personalities of children and plan for their happiness. It is on this day that the Japanese equivalent of the Dragon Boat Festival is held. On this day, and for some time before it, families who have a boy in their home may fly koinobori and decorate their homes with armor or samurai dolls. Children's Day marks the end of Golden Week.

South Korea also celebrated Orininal - Children’s Day, the day on which to esteem the personalities of children and plan for their happiness. In Korea, Children's Day started on May 1, 1922, when 8 persons including Bang Jeong-Hwan declared the Day and held an anniversary. In 1946, the Day changed to May 5, and became a public holiday in 1975.

4 May

Australia (Northern Territory and Queensland) had a public holiday for Labour Day.

Bangladesh had another holiday for COVID-19.

China had another holiday for Labour Day.

Japan celebrated Greenery Day. This national holiday is celebrated as a day to commune with nature and be grateful for its blessings. Originally established in 1989 and held annually on April 29 (the late Shōwa Emperor's birthday), in 2007 Greenery Day was moved to May 4, and April 29 was renamed "Shōwa Day". Greenery Day falls during Golden Week.

Thailand celebrated the Coronation of King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun.

3 May

Bangladesh had another holiday for COVID-19.

China had another holiday for Labour Day.

Japan celebrated Constitution Memorial Day. This national holiday was established in 1948, to commemorate the day on which Japan's post-war constitution took effect. Constitution Memorial Day falls during Golden Week.

2 May

Bhutan observed Zhabdrung Kuchoe, to mark the passing of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1651 at Punakha Dzong.  He was the first person to unify the warring valley kingdoms under a single rule. In Bhutan, Zhabdrung is revered as the third most important personality behind Guru Rimpoche and the Sakyamuni Buddha. During this national holiday, Bhutanese visit temples/monasteries where prayers ceremonies are held.  The holiday is a national day of mourning.

Bhutan also celebrated the birth anniversary of Jigme Dorji Wangchuck the 3rd Druk Gyalpo, who began Bhutan's first steps toward modernization (b. 1928, Thruepang Palace, Trongsa).

China had a holiday for Labour Day.