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Vesak

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Vesak
Observed by: Buddhists
Also called: Visakah Puja; Buddha Purnima
Visakha Bucha; Wesak
Meaning: "Ceremony of the sixth month of the Hindu lunar calendar"
Begins: First full moon day in May (regular)
First full moon day in June (leap year)
Occasion Birth, enlightenment and passing of Buddha
Symbols: Gold leaf
Related to: Hanamatsuri

Vesak (from the name of the second month in the Hindu calendar) is the most holy time in the Buddhist calendar. Vesak is also known as Visakah Puja or Buddha Purnima in India, Visakha Bucha in Thailand, Waisak in Indonesia and Wesak in Sri Lanka and Malaysia.

It commemorates the birth, Enlightenment and passing of Gautama Buddha on the one historical day, the first full moon day in May, except in a leap year when the festival is held in June.

It is celebrated throughout Southeast Asia where Theravada Buddhism is prevalent. In Thailand, Buddhists celebrate Vesak with mass releases of caged birds, sacred chants, fasting and other religious observances. At the Sakya Muni Buddha Gaya Temple in Singapore, devotees donate money to the temple and in exchange are allowed to place gold leaf onto a small statue of Buddha. As the day wears on, the Buddha is almost entirely covered in a fresh layer of gold leaf. In Indonesia, many Buddhists gather at the temple of Borobudur for elaborate festivities.

A similar holiday, called Hanamatsuri or "Flower Festival", is celebrated in Japan on April 8. However, Hanamatsuri commemorates only the Buddha's birth. In Hong Kong, Macao and South Korea, the 8th day of the fourth moon in the Chinese calendar is a public holiday, as the "Buddha's Birthday".

Template:Buddhistub

de:Vesakh id:Hari Waisaka ms:Hari Wesak

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