Buddha Purnima- Vesak Day

Buddha Purnima Date 2016

Saturday 21 May

The Vesak day observed as Buddha Purnima is the most auspicious and sacred day of the Buddhist calendar. The Vesak festival falls on the full moon day (Purnima) of the Vaisakha month and thus called Buddha Purnima – the Full Moon Day of Buddha. This coincides with the months of April-May of Gregorian calendar. Buddha Poornima festival commemorates the birth, enlightenment (Nirvana) and death (Parinirvana) of Gautam Buddha.

Buddha Purnima 2016 Date

Buddha Purnima in India this year will be celebrated on 21 May 2016.

Different Names of Vesak Day

Buddha Purnima- Vesak FestivalVesakha or Vesak is observed by Buddhist communities in India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and many South East Asian countries like Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Burma, and Indonesia etc. In all these countries, the Vesak day is called by various names. As it falls on full moon day, in India, it is called Buddha Purnima and in Bangladesh it is pronounced as Buddho Purnima or Buddho Joyonti. Sometimes, in Nepal, it is also referred to as Buddha Jayanti (Buddha’s Birthday). In the Buddhist country of Sri Lanaka, it is known as Wesak whereas in Indonesia, it is called Waisak. In Thailand, it is known as Wisakha Bucha or Visakah Puja

Buddha Purnima Celebrations in India

The Buddhist community in India celebrates Buddha Purnima with utmost religious feel. There are some regions in India where Buddhists live in great numbers like Sikkim, Ladakh, Arunachal Pradesh, Bodh Gaya and Maharashtra (these areas have 6% of total population as Buddhists). People belonging to Buddhist community here go to Viharas in order to observe a special lengthier Buddhist sutra (resembling a service). They usually wear pure white dresses and have vegetarian food. Kheer, a sweet rice porridge is served to recall the story of Sujata- a maiden who offered a bowl of milk porridge to Gautama Buddha at one point of his life.

Buddha Purnima Celebrations in India

Buddha Puja as Incarnation of Vishnu

Although Buddha Purnima is the major festival of Buddhist community, it is a well known fact that people from different religions all over the world have embraced Buddhism. Thus, in India, many Hindu believers of Buddhism worship Lord Buddha as the Ninth Avatar of Lord Vishnu. They worship Buddha both- in Buddhist temples as well as in Hindu temples.

Buddha Purnima Rituals

India is considered to be the founder of Buddhist religion. Therefore, Buddhist pilgrims from all over the world come to Bodh Gaya to attend the Buddha Poornima celebrations in India. Bodh Gaya, situated in Bihar state of India, is the place where Gautama Buddha attained supreme Enlightenment.

Mahabodhi Temple Shrine, Bodh Gaya

The Vesak day is marked with prayer meets held in Viharas and temples. Other rituals of the Buddha Purnima day includes sermons on the life of Gautam Buddha, recitation of stories about Buddha, religious and spiritual discourses stating the middle path of life as preached by Buddha, recitation of Buddhist scriptures, group meditation, processions, and worshiping of the statue of Buddha. The Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya is elaborately decorated with colourful flags and flowers to give it utmost festive look.

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