Buddha Purnima or also known as 'Buddha Jayanti' or 'Vesak' or 'Buddha Day' is the most sacred festivals of Buddhist. Buddha Purnima (Buddha Birthday) is celebrated in remembrance Lord Buddha. Lord Buddha is the founder of Buddhism & this day is the birth anniversary of Lord Buddha. It falls on the full moon of the fourth lunar month (month of Vaisakh) i.e. April or May. This year it falls on 14th May, 2014 & next year on 4th May, 2015.
This day commemorates three important events of Buddha's life and it is a gazetted holiday in India..
- His birth in 623 BC.
- His enlightment i.e. attainment of supreme wisdom, in 588 BC.
- His attainment of Nirvana i.e. the complete extinction of his self at the age of 80.
Many Buddhists visit temples on Vesak to listen to monks give talks and recite ancient verses. Devout Buddhists may spend all day in one or more temples. Some temples display a small statue of Buddha as a baby. The statue is placed in a basin filled with water and decorated with flowers. Visitors to the temple pour water over the statue. This symbolizes a pure and new beginning. Many Buddhists pay special attention to Buddha's teachings during Vesak. Caged animals are bought and set free to display care for all living creatures, as preached by Buddha.
Vesakha (Pali; Sanskrit: 'Vaisakha', Devanagari: 'Vaishakh') or Vesak is a holiday observed traditionally by Buddhists in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and the South East Asian countries of Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Burma, and Indonesia. Also, a large fair is held at 'Sarnath' and the relics of the Buddha are taken out for public display in a procession.
Besides Sarnath, the Buddha Purnima is also celebrated with religious fervor at Gaya and Kushinagar and other parts of India and the world.