Vesak the Buddhist Festival
Vesak Festival :
The Buddhists celebrate the Vesak festival. It is the most important festival in the Buddhist according to the Buddhist lunar calendar. Which usually falls in May or the early days of June. Buddhist celebrates three significant events which happened in the life of Buddha. Buddha’s birth, enlightenment at 35 when he became the Buddha and his final passing into Nirvana at 80. According to Buddhist scriptures, these three significant events occurred on a full moon day of the Indian Lunar month of viscacha.
In 1950 world fellowship of Buddhists was held in Sri Lanka. In this conference, all Buddhists agree to celebrate the Vesak as the Buddhist’s birthday. 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 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 honourable 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 is that in life, every subject is not eternal; it should destroy so we never lust for anything and lead an austere life. The devotees are encouraged to partake in vegetarian food for the day to make a special effort to avoid killing. In some countries, notably Sri Lanka, two days are set aside to celebrate Vesak and all liquor shops and slaughterhouses are closed by government decree during the two days. Also, the thousands release birds, insects, and animals in what is known as a ‘symbolic act of liberation’, giving freedom to those 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 central concept of this festival. On the day of Vesak, the Buddhists decorate and illuminate the temples and create exquisite scene paintings from the Buddha’s life to bring public awareness to the Buddha’s life and teachings. Buddhists came to the temples to pay homage to Buddha. Vasak also means to bring happiness to the unfortunate, like the sick, disabled and old aged people. On this day, Buddhists distribute gifts in cash to sad people.
The 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—he also told all his disciples to follow his teachings, later called The Dhamma(instructions). The Dhamma concept is the truth is eternal and not subject to the law of change. He also stressed that paying 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 in every corner of the world.