Pin It
Saturday, April 30th, 2011

Vesak (Wesak): May 13 (date varies)

Celebrating-Vesak/ zaizaikorn - Fotolia.com

Vesak (also known as Wesak) commemorates the Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and death with a colorful, fun festival. Casually the holiday is often referred to as the “Buddha’s birthday.” The exact date of Vesak changes according to the varying lunar calendars used in different traditions. It is primarily celebrated within Theravada Buddhism (practiced in Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, Singapore, Malaysia, Laos, etc.) and even within those countries there are variations. In May, Vesak is celebrated in some countries on the 13th and in other places as late as the 21st. Generally, it falls on the full moon of the fourth lunar month.

In preparation for Vesak, people clean and decorate their homes. On Vesak Day, Buddhists gather at their local temple for prayer, chanting and teaching. The temple is often decorated with colorful Buddhist flags and lights. People give offerings to the monks like flowers, candles and food. Often, devout Buddhists will dress in white and spend the day at temple with renewed determination to observe Buddhism’s Eight Precepts. One common ritual is the “Bathing the Buddha” ceremony where people pour water over the shoulders of the Buddha, which serves as a reminder to purify the mind from evils like greed and ignorance. In addition to bathing the Buddha, Buddhists also offer gifts—like flowers, fruits and other offerings—at the altar of the Buddha to show him respect and gratitude.

Buddhists must not kill any animals on this day and therefore all foods are vegetarian. Celebrations for Vesak vary by country. One popular tradition in some countries, like Thailand and Sri Lanka, is releasing caged birds as a symbol of releasing inner troubles and liberating those who are in captivity or imprisoned. In Sri Lanka, the celebration lasts for two days and all liquor stores and slaughter houses are closed during that time.

© 2011 – 2013, The Editors. All rights reserved.

More Great Stuff You'll Love:


Language Resource Library for Raising Bilingual Kids

The most comprehensive list of language learning resources

10 Best World Maps for Your Children’s Room

Because every little global citizen needs a map

Circumcision Wars

She fought her Turkish in-laws on it--did she succeed?

Si­, Yes: Raising Bilingual Twins

Language acquisition in three-and-a-half year old, bilingual twins.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


InCultureParent is an online magazine for parent's raising little global citizens. Centered on global parenting culture and traditions, we feature articles on parenting around the world and on raising multicultural and multilingual children.

Leave us a comment!









Notify me of follow-up comments via e-mail.
Or leave your email address and click here to receive email notifications of new comments without leaving a comment yourself.

Get weekly updates right in your inbox so you don't miss out!



A Children's Book for Raising Global Citizens

Every life is a story. It’s easier to understand someone when you know their story.

Why I Travel 13 Hours Alone with My Kids Every Chance I Get

Travelling with children, while definitely more of a mission, contradicts the old saying that “life is about the journey, not the destination.”

A Diverse Book for Preschoolers in Celebration of Multicultural Children's Book Day

A book that honestly and simply celebrates the every day diversity that children experience.

Why My African Feminist Mother Gave Me the Identity of My Father's Tribe

She gave me an identity so different from her own.

2 Children’s Books about Jamaica

Explore Jamaica with your child.

Costa Rica with Kids: Two Weeks of Family Travel

Two weeks of Pura Vida in a country with so much to offer families.

Should I Worry about My Child's Accent in Her Foreign Language?

See why Dr. Gupta takes offense to this question and where children learn accents from

How to raise trilingual kids when exposure to Dad's language is limited

My kids only get 1-2 hours of the minority language per day-help!
[…] Peru, 97 percent of newborns are breastfed, according to LLLI. In Culture Parent reported that 69 percent of Peruvian children are breastfed exclusively from birth to five months, and ou...
From Breastfeeding Around the World
Hi I was googling Islamic beliefs when I came across your post. We are American and our neighbors are from Pakistan I think. Our kids love playing together but their dad doesn't allow the kids to co...
From An Islamic Perspective on Child-Rearing and Discipline
Mother’s Day is the most perfect and accurate Occasion to express your Love and Gratitude towards Mothe...
From Holi Craft: Straw Painting
[…] Muslims fast for 30 days every year for Ramadan, which is one of the five pillars of Islam. Ramadan this year is happening during most of the month […...
From Ramadan: June 28-July 28
[…] Raising a Little Buddha – Part 1, InCulture Parent — Post by a Buddhist Minister about raising an enlightened child.  It starts with intimacy, communication, and community. [R...
From How to Raise an Enlightened Child — Part I
[…] Breastfeeding in Jordan, InCulture Parent — Not as restrictive as one might think. […...
From Breastfeeding in Jordan
[…] Best and Worst Countries to be a Mother, InCulture Parent – “The 2010 Mothers’ Index rates 160 countries (43 developed nations and 117 in the developing world) in terms of th...
From Best and Worst Countries to be a Mother
[…] Why Americans Value Independent and Competitive Kids, InCultureParent — Interesting look at how our values impact our interactions with our children (babies in particular). […...
From Why Americans Value Independent and Competitive Kids
[…] Multiple Fathers and Healthier Children in the Amazon, InCulture Parent — a fascinating look at cultures in the Amazon where pregnant women have sex with more than one man as a means...
From Multiple Fathers and Healthier Children in the Amazon

More Global Celebrations