Vesak (more commonly referred to as Buddha Purnima or Buddha Jayanti) is a Buddhist festival. It celebrates the life and death of Gautama Buddha, particularly focusing on the enlightenment.
Upcoming Dates For Buddha Purnima
The holiday falls on the full moon in May, therefore the observation may change each year. Here are the upcoming dates for Buddha Purnima:
- Wednesday, May 10, 2017
- Monday, April 30, 2018
- Saturday, May 18, 2019
- Thursday, May 7, 2020
- Wednesday, May 26, 2021
- Monday, May 16, 2022
- Friday, May 5, 2023
- Thursday, May 23, 2024
- Monday, May 12, 2025
Where Is Buddha Purnima Considered a Holiday?
Throughout India, it is observed as a gazette holiday. Many establishments, particularly government, will be closed on this day. There are some individual shops that may remain open. These shops may have reduced hours. Transport is largely unaffected on Vesak.
Festivities & Events During Buddha Purnima
During Vesak, it's common that people will travel to temples. This is most common in devout Buddhists. In places that have a baby statue of Buddha, it is common to place the statue in a basin of water. This basin will also have flowers inside, as a symbol of purity. Many pay close attention to the teachings of Buddha on Vesak. This includes practicing what was preached. Many eat only vegetarian food and buy caged animals to set them free. This represents the teachings of care for living things. Many will also give money or food to help the less fortunate.
A Brief History About Buddha Purnima
Gautama Buddha is recognized as a spiritual leader in India. Although, no one is certain when Buddha was born, or even when Buddha died. Festivals have been held to honor Buddha throughout many centuries. In 1950, there was a conference of the World Fellowship of Buddhists. A decision was made to celebrate the birthday on the first full moon of May. It has followed this date since. Although, there are years where May has two full moons. During these months, it's common that different areas choose to celebrate on different days.