Vesak is one of the major religious festivals celebrated by Buddhists. This year it is celebrated on the day of the full moon 26th May 2021. On that day, Buddhists around the world celebrate the birth, enlightenment and attainment of the Supreme Buddha and engage in various religious ceremonies. This article is written to explain the significance of Vesak Poya Day as there are many other important events that have taken place in addition to the special events of the Supreme Buddha on Vesak Poya Day.
First comes the birth of Siddhartha Gautama in Lumbini in Nepal which took place under the arbor of a Sal tree where Queen Mahamaya gave birth to him. The Abandonment of the laity at the age of 29 after becoming frustrated with life. After that he worked hard for 6 years but could not attain enlightenment. But after that, the Bodhisattva, who had abandoned the Atta Kilamathanu Yoga and the Kama Sukhallikana Yoga and followed the middle path, attained enlightenment at the root of the Asatu Bo tree in Buddhagaya. The third event was The Buddha’s Parinibbana over 2500 years ago at Kusinara. 80-year-old Gautama Buddha then announced His passing away, Parinibbana, would take place on the third watch of the night at Sal grove of Malla royal family and it happened to be a Vesak Poya day.
Apart from Sri Lanka, many Asian countries including India, Japan, Singapore, and Taiwan celebrate Vesak. Many religious activities are organized during this period in Sri Lanka such as Sil campaigns, Bodhi poojas, Dansalas, Vesak devotional songs (Bakthi Gee), pandols (thoran), and lanterns. Temples are packed with devotees and devotees from all over the island to mark this auspicious occasion. Buddhists worship, offer flowers and light lamps in temples. The essence of these traditional celebrations is the value of meeting the religious and emotional needs of the people. Buddhists usually dress in white and go to temples to attend traditional ceremonies. Many of them spend the whole day in the temple, reaffirming their determination to follow the teachings of the Buddha.