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Giraggasamajjā

A festival held from time to time (kālānukālaṃ) in Rājagaha. (Perhaps elsewhere as well. The BuA. p.102 says it was an annual festival held all over Jambudīpa and was as old as Dīpaṅkara Buddha; see also J.iii.538). It was held in the open air in the afternoon and was attended by all people of all grades of society from Aṅga and Magadha. Special seats were prepared for the more eminent of the audience, and the festivities seem to have consisted chiefly of nautch dances (SNA.i.326). According to the Vinaya accounts (Vin.ii.107 f, 150; iv.85, 267) there were also singing and music, and the festival was attended not only by laymen, but also by members of religious orders, for otherwise it is unlikely that the “Group of seventeen monks (Sattarasavaggiyā)” and the “Group of six monks (Chabbaggiyā)” would have been there. Food was provided as well as amusements.

Buddhaghosa (Sp.iv.831) explains the name of the festival thus: “Giraggasamajjo ti girimhi aggasamajjo girissa vā aggadese sammajo,” and tells us that it was announced for seven days before its commencement, and was held on level ground under a shadow of a hill and outside the city. Perhaps it was originally a pagan religious festival, a survival of old exogamic communistic dancing (See Dial.i.7, n.4; VT.iii.71, n.3).

It was at a Giraggasamajjā that Upatissa (Sāriputta) and Kolita (Mahā-Moggallāna) decided to leave the world (DhA.i.73 f; AA.i.89, etc.)

The Sanskrit equivalent is Girivaggu-samāgama. AvS.ii.24.

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