Vesak Festival :
Vesak festival is celebrated by the Buddhists. It is the most important festival in the Buddhist according to the Buddhist lunar calendar. Which is usually falls in May or early days on June. Buddhist celebrates three major events which happened in the life of Buddha. Buddha’s birth, his enlightenment at the age of 35 when he became the Buddha and his final passing into Nirvana at the age of 80. According to Buddhist scriptures, these three significant events occurred on a full moon day of the India Lunar month of vesacha.
In 1950 world fellowship of Buddhists was held in Sri Lanka. In this conference, all Buddhists agree to celebrate the Vesak as the Buddhists birthday. In this conference passed a resolution It is
“That this Conference of the World Fellowship of Buddhists, while recording its appreciation of the gracious act of His Majesty, the Maharaja of Nepal in making the full-moon day of Vesak a Public Holiday in Nepal, earnestly requests the Heads of Governments of all countries in which large or small number of Buddhists are to be found, to take steps to make the full-moon day in the month of May a Public Holiday in honour of the Buddha, who is universally acclaimed as one of the greatest benefactors of Humanity”.
Celebrations of the Vesak Festival:
On Vesak Festival day, followers of Buddhism are expected and requested to assemble in their various temples before dawn for the ceremonial, and honorable, hoisting of the Buddhist Flag and the singing of hymns in praise of the Buddha, the Dharma (his teachings), and the Sangha (his disciples). Devotees bring flowers, candles, and joss-sticks to lay at the feet of Buddha. These symbolic offerings are to remind followers that just as the beautiful flowers would wither away after a short while and the candles and joss-sticks would soon burn out, this significance that in the life every subject is not eternal; it should destruct so we never lust for anything and lead an austere life. The devotees are encouraged to partake of vegetarian food for the day to make a special effort to refrain from killing of any kind. In some countries, notably Sri Lanka, two days are set aside for the celebration of Vesak and all liquor shops and slaughter houses are closed by government decree during the two days. Also, birds, insects, and animals are released by the thousands in what is known as a ‘symbolic act to liberation’; of giving freedom to those who are in captivity, imprisoned, or tortured against their will. Some devout Buddhists will wear a simple white dress and spend the whole day in temples with renewed determination to observe the eight Precepts.
Concept of the Vesak Festival:
Keeping happiness in the people is the main concept of this festival. On the day of Vesak, the Buddhists decorate and illuminate the temples create the exquisite scene painting from the life of the Buddha for bringing public awareness to the Buddha life and his teachings. Buddhists who came to the temples to pay homage to Buddha. Vasak also means to bring happiness to the unfortunate like the sick, handicapped and the old aged people. On this day Buddhists distribute gifts in cash to the unfortunate people.
Last words of Buddha caused Vesak Festival:
Lord Buddha saw his disciple Ananda in deep lamentation. He advised him not to weep but to understand the Universal law that all material bodies must disintegrate. Also said to his all disciples to follow his teachings, which were later called The Dhamma(teachings). The Dhamma concept is the truth is eternal and not subject to the law of change. He also stressed that the way to pay homage to him was only following his teachings called “The Dhamma”, instead of offering flowers, incense and lights.
So his thoughts and teachings are eternal, by following the concept of The Dharma, we can spread peace every corner of the world.