Budhha Jayanti Calendar
|Wed||May 22||2018||Buddha Purnima/Vesak||Gazetted Holiday|
|Wed||May 10||2017||Buddha Purnima/Vesak||Gazetted Holiday|
|Mon||May 21||2016||Buddha Purnima/Vesak||Gazetted Holiday|
The Buddha Jayanti festival is celebrated to observe the birth of Lord Buddha. It is considered to be the most sacred day in the Buddhist calendar. The festival is celebrated on the full moon of the Baisakh month, Buddha Jayanti will be celebrated on the 14th of May. Most Buddhists consider the Buddha Jayanti as the day when Lord Buddha was born, attained enlightenment and achieved the Nirvana. The Buddha Jayanti is also known as the Buddha Purnima. It is considered to be a thrice-blessed day by the Buddhists.
Budhha Jayanti The birth anniversary of the magnificent spiritual leader Gautam Buddha, the founder of ‘Buddhism’, is celebrated as ‘Buddha Jayanti’. It is largely celebrated in India, Nepal and Bangladesh. Gautam budhha’s message of ‘Peace’ was spread from India to many foreign cultures. This conventional festival is celebrated annually on the purnima (full moon) of ‘Vaisakha’.
On this auspicious day, Mahabodhi temple is beautifully decorated and many special events are held to mark the life and teachings of ‘Gautam Buddha’. It is also believed that this day celebrates birth, attaining Nirvana (enlightenment) and death of Gautam Budhha. The Buddhism affirms of five principles known as ‘Panchsheel’.
Thus, Buddha Jayanti is a celebration of Buddhist teachings of Ahimsa and Non –Violence.
There are certain rituals observed on the Buddha Jayanti. For instance, the Bodhi tree is decorated with flowers and colored flags. Lamps are lit around the Bodhi tree; milk and scented water are then showered on the roots of the Bodhi tree. Other simple rituals followed on the Buddha Jayanti include freeing birds from their cages and offering fruits and clothes to the sick and the poor.
On the day of the Buddha Jayanti festival, the followers of Buddha discard eating meat. The popular food item they have on this day is sweet rice known as Kheer. The Buddhists set up stalls in various places just to offer clear drinking water. On this day, the followers of Buddha try doing things which reflect their kindness toward animals.
The Buddha Jayanti or Buddha Purnima is celebrated wholeheartedly at the Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya, Patna in Bihar. This is the place where Lord Buddha attained enlightenment. The Mahabodhi temple is adorned with colorful flowers and flags on the festive occasion of the Buddha Jayanti. This is where people from all over the globe come and attend the celebrations. The Buddha Jayanti events and celebrations include prayer sessions, meditation, processions, symposia and sermons on the life of the Buddha.
On the Buddha Jayanti, the Buddhists offer their prayers to Lord Buddha and listen to the scriptures recited by the monks in various monasteries. They offer flowers, fruits, incense and candles to Lord Buddha. Early morning, they take a bath and put on white clothes only. Then they reach the monasteries and give alms to the monks. To celebrate Buddha Jayanti in the honor of the Lord, the Buddhists reaffirm their faith in the five principles (Panchsheel) followed by the Buddha. On this festive occasion, the Buddhists resolve to do the following (in honor of their Lord) as listed below:
The Buddha Jayanti is celebrated with grandeur in Lumbini, the birthplace of the Lord. The celebrations include several functions and processions. In one of the functions, the statue of Buddha is placed on a chariot which is then taken out in a procession. Several musicians participate in the processions that are attended by women singing songs and other followers chanting prayers and sacred slogans. The procession reaches a monastery where the monks give a speech where they talk about the importance of Buddhism in everyone’s lives. This program is often attended by ministers and ambassadors other than the monks.
Apart from the prayer sessions and religious speeches, a prize distribution ceremony is usually held in Lumbini on the occasion of the Buddha Jayanti festival. This is where the chief guests reward the winners of the contests (essay writing and oratory competition) held during this festival. Besides, scholarship is awarded to some of the underprivileged students of the society. Moreover, there are free medical camps organized in and around the Lumbini area. To add color to the Buddha Jayanti events, the great Buddha Jayanti fair is held in Lumbini. This fair is attended by people from different countries across the world.
In Sanchi, the idols of Buddha are taken out in a procession. In Delhi, the mortal remains of Buddha are taken out at the National Museum so that the public can view it. In Sri Lanka, the Buddhists ensure that their houses are lighted up. In Japan, the Buddhists create replicas of shrines and place an idol of the Buddha on them. Then they wash the idols and offer spring flowers before they start praying to the Lord. However, in Burma, the Buddhists observe a day in almost every month to honor Lord Buddha.
This is how the Buddha Jayanti festival is celebrated and enjoyed by the followers of Buddha and people of other religions as well.