Vesak (Buddha Purnima, Buddha Jayanti) is a Buddhist festival that marks Gautama Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and death.
It falls on the day of the full moon in May and it is a gazetted holiday in India.
Buddha Purnima 2013 Date: May 25th 2013.
What do people do? :
Many Buddhists visit temples on Vesak to listen to monks give talks and recite ancient verses. Devout Buddhists may spend all day in one or more temples. Some temples display a small statue of Buddha as a baby. The statue is placed in a basin filled with water and decorated with flowers. Visitors to the temple pour water over the statue. This symbolizes a pure and new beginning.
Many Buddhists pay special attention to Buddha’s teachings during Vesak. They may wear white robes and only eat vegetarian food on and around Vesak. Many people also give money, food or goods to organizations that help the poor, the elderly and those who are sick. Caged animals are bought and set free to display care for all living creatures, as preached by Buddha.
Government offices, post offices and banks are closed in India on Vesak.
About the Symbols :
The dharmacakra or dharma wheel is a symbol often seen during Vesak. It is a wooden wheel with eight spokes. The wheel represents Buddha’s teaching on the path to enlightenment. The eight spokes symbolize the noble eightfold path of Buddhism.
Buddha Jayanti or also known as Buddha Purnima is the most sacred festivals of Buddhist.
Buddha Purnima (Buddha Birthday) is celebrated in remembrance Lord Buddha.
Lord Buddha is the founder of Buddhism. This day is the birth anniversary of Lord Buddha.
It falls on the full moon of the fourth lunar month (month of Vaisakh) i.e. April or May.
This day commemorates three important events of Buddha’s life
– His birth in 623 BC.
– His enlightment i.e. attainment of supreme wisdom, in 588 BC.
– His attainment of Nirvana i.e. the complete extinction of his self at the age of 80.
This day is a thrice blessed day. Lord Buddha is considered the ninth avatar (incarnation) of Vishnu (Preserver in the Hindu Holy Trinity of Creator-Preserver-Destroyer). Gautam Buddha “lived and died in about the fifth century before the Christian era”. Buddha means “enlightened one” – someone who is completely freefrom all faults and mental obstructions.
Buddha travelled far and wide teaching hundreds of followers. Even after death his disciples continued to spread his teachings.
Gautam Buddha was not a god and the philosophy of Buddhism does not entail any theistic world-view. The teachings of the Buddha are solely to liberate human beings from the misery and sufferings of life.
Source : http://www.timeanddate.com and other informative website.