Saka Dawa (also known as Saga Dawa) represents the holiest and most sacred days in Tibetan Buddhism. Falling on the fourth month of the Tibetan Calendar, the religious festivities of Saka Dawa peak on the 15th Lunar Day when there is a full moon. This day is associated with three major events in the life of Shakyamuni Buddha – his birth, his enlightenment on a full moon night, and his parinirvana. In Tibetan, Dawa means “month” while Saka means the “name of the closet star to the earth” during the lunar month which is prominently visible. In Tibetan astrological calculations, Saka is one of the 28 known major stars.
On the main Saka Dawa day, a special puja is carried out by monks in the monasteries early in the morning. Additionally, sutras are recited and Cham dances are also performed at the monastery. After this, Tibetans take an oath of the Eight Mahayana precepts to be observed during the day.
What to do during the month of Saka Dawa on your won will ?
Pilgrimages to sacred Tibetan places such as mountains, lakes and caves, notable monasteries, and temples.
Performing koras in a clockwise direction around a shrine or other holy places. Pilgrims pray, prostrate themselves, and chant mantras such as the “Om Mani Padme Hum, Buddha Shakyamuni” mantra or White or Green Tara mantras.
Giving donations to monasteries, monks and nuns.
Giving charity to the poor.
Eradicating the dark forces by lighting butter lamps.
Refraining from eating meat.
Setting animals free into their habitat.
Avoid killing and taking life
Shunning from acts of stealing
Avoiding sexual contact
Staying away from lying and deceiving others
Not taking alcohol, tobacco and recreation drugs
Eating one meal a day before noon which should not include onions, garlic, radishes, meat or eggs.
Not sleeping on a high-raised bed or sitting on chair with pride
Not participating in singing and dancing, nor wearing jewelry and other adornments, such as makeup or perfume.