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Wesak / Buddha Day

29 May

Day celebrating the Buddha’s birthday.

Wesak in Kuala Lumpur by Kamal Sellehuddin - click to view on flickr.comWesak is the most important festival for Buddhists – it generally falls on the first full moon in May and celebrates the Buddha’s birthday. For many Buddhists the day also marks the Buddha’s enlightenment and death.

Buddhism has spread to many different cultures and countries since the Buddha’s death in India some 2,400 years ago. Because of this, Wesak is celebrated in many different ways; generally Buddhists take the time to reflect on their own path to enlightenment, visit the temple and make offerings to the monks. Other celebrations can include:

  • ‘bathing the Buddha’: pouring water over statues of the Buddha to purify one’s mind from greed and hatred
  • releasing caged birds as a symbolic act of liberation
  • making special efforts to bring happiness to the old and the sick
  • candle and lantern processions.

The Boston Globe website has some great pictures: The Big Picture – Vesak Day 2011.

You can find an assembly script and some film clips for Wesak on the TrueTube website (for Key Stages 3 & 4 – ages 11-16)

And the following websites provide further background information about Wesak:

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29 May
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