Gautam Buddha statue near green trees
The main Buddhist festival is Buddha Purnima also known as Vesak or Vaisakh Purnima. It commemorates the birth anniversary of Gautama Buddha, the founder of the Buddhist religion, and is widely celebrated around the world. It is observed on the full moon day in May and is recognized as a holiday in India. Despite the fact that less than 1% of the Indian population is Buddhist, Buddha Purnima is a vibrant holiday that draws visitors from all over the world. Unlike many Western holidays, the date of this holiday is not fixed to the Gregorian calendar; rather, it is observed on the full moon of the Hindu calendar month of Vaishakh (April and May in the Gregorian calendar). May has two full moon days (the date varies) and the Buddhist and Hindu lunar calendars can be perceived differently. The birth of Buddha is commemorated as part of the ‘Vesak’ festival because it combines the three major events in Buddha’s life–his birth, enlightenment, and death. Buddha Purnima is a holiday centered on humility and respect.
Lord Buddha was born on the full moon day of the Vaishakh month and is thought to be Lord Vishnu’s ninth incarnation. Buddha Purnima holds special significance in Hinduism. He led the world on a spiritual path that included ethical instruction and contemplative techniques, as well as criticism of Brahmin priests’ activities like animal sacrifice.
Buddha Purnima commemorates the birth, enlightenment, and death of Gautama Buddha. On this day in 563 BC, Buddha was born as Siddhartha Gautama in Kopilabostu. Gautam Buddha is said to have attained supreme enlightenment at the age of 35 and died at the age of 80 in 483 BC.
In 2022, Buddha Purnima falls on May 16 (Monday) in India and Nepal.
Celebrations and rituals
Person praying in front of the Buddha statue in the Buddha temple
Special religious, cultural, and social events mark the Buddha Purnima celebrations. To commemorate this event, Buddhists hold prayer meetings and fairs that last three or more days.
Buddhist organizations organize Bodhidroom Melas and distribute Buddhist holy books, scriptures, and magazines to the public. On this day, special programs and messages are broadcasted on radio and television. One can discover more about Gautama Buddha, Buddhism, and Buddha Purnima celebrations through various channels. People from all over the world travel to Bodh Gaya to take part in this auspicious festival. In addition to these ceremonies, Buddha Purnima celebrations include prayer recitation, lectures on the life of Gautama Buddha, and religious speeches by monks in Buddhist scriptures. Worshiping Lord Buddha’s statues is also part of the Buddha Purnima celebrations. Meditation camps are set up and processions are held in which people take part with great devotion and joy. People visit Buddhist temples to offer holy water, flowers, incense, candles, and fruits to Buddha statues.
Buddhists practice the custom of assisting the poor by donating money, food, and other valuables. Caged animals are set free to spread Buddhism’s central message that freedom is the fundamental right of all living things.
Buddhist temples, particularly the Mahabodhi temple, are lavishly decorated with flowers, flags and other items. Some of the unique rituals practiced by Buddhists on Buddha Purnima include flower bathing, wearing white clothes after a holy bath, preaching Gautama Buddha’s teachings, sweet distribution and so on.
To end this article, here are 5 quotes by Gautam Buddha to live by. They are:
Buddha statue in the greens
- “No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.”
- “Every morning we are born again. What we do today is actually what matters most.”
- “What you are is what you have been. What you can be is what you do now.”
- “True love is born from understanding.”
- “What is evil? Killing is evil, lying is evil, slandering is evil, abuse is evil, gossip is evil, envy is evil, hatred is evil, and clinging to false doctrine is evil; all these things are evil. And what is the root of evil? Desire, it is the root of evil, the illusion is the root of evil.”