Sagadawa, the fourth lunar month of the year, is the holiest in the Buddhist calendar. It begins with the new moon, and the 15th day, the full moon, is celebrated as the Buddha’s birthday in Mahayana and Theravada countries alike.
It is said that any merit acquired during Sagadawa is multiplied manifold, and many Buddhist dedicate the month to acquiring merit. It is a time to stock up on merit, a spiritual investment towards the next life, and many commitments are made, for the whole month, sometimes longer. Most shun eating meat, others perform thousands of prostrations, save animal lives, give alms to those in need and make offerings to temples. Nomad families will not slaughter on Sagadawa, and will be careful not to perform any actions that harm lives.
Each year, Norlha plunges into the spirit of Sagadawa by celebrating the elderly, weaving them warm scarves, a yearly gift for all Ritoma residents over eighty, to show our love and appreciation. Sagadawa is a special month for them, one where they spend their days reciting mantras and prostrating, blessings that will bring good tidings to the whole village.