I noticed on my nifty calendar (that lists holidays and sabbats for all religions) that yesterday (Feb. 8th) was Nirvana Day.
The BBC "Religions" site says:
"This (Parinirvana Day or Nirvana Day) is a Mahayana Buddhist festival that marks the death of the Buddha.
Buddhists celebrate the death of the Buddha, because they believe that having attained Enlightenment he achieved freedom from physical existence and its sufferings. Buddhists celebrate Parinirvana Day by meditating or by going to Buddhist temples or monasteries.
In monasteries Parinirvana Day is treated as a social occasion. Food is prepared and some people bring presents such as money, household goods or clothes.
The day is used as an opportunity to reflect on the fact of one's own future death, and on friends or relations who have recently passed away. The idea that all things are transient is central to Buddhist teaching. Loss and impermanence are things to be accepted rather than causes of grief.
Meditations are carried out for the newly deceased to give them help and support wherever they might be now."
This somehow reminds me of the Mexican Day of the Dead - albeit less flashy. I do think there is a benefit to pondering our own mortality, and the celebration/wonderment of what is to come when our spirit/energy leaves this physical body of ours.
I think it's rather fitting that I got together with my girlfriends last night for drinks and appies and we chatted about who would be the last one left and what she was to do with all of our "ceremonial shot glasses." (Not as morbid as it might sound - it was actually a lot of laughs!)
Do you spend much time thinking about your own mortality or your ancestors, or do you save that meditation strictly for Samhain time (if you are Pagan?)