Vesak festival, or Buddha Day, celebrates three
major events in the life of the Buddha: his birth,
Enlightenment and passing away on the full moon
of the 6th lunar month (May). It is the most important
festival in the Buddhist lunar calendar.
festivals are a time for joy. The give Buddhists
an opportunity to meet together, to take the Three
Refuges and learn more about the Buddha's teachings.
Families bring food, candles and flowers to the
monks in the monasteries. In return, the monks chant
the scriptures, lead a period of meditation and
give teachings on the themes of the festival.
is a party feel to the whole occasion. Houses and
streets are cleaned and decorated with Buddhist
flags and flowers. In villages, Buddhists gather
around statues of the Buddha when it is dark. They
walk around the statue with candles till all is
covered in light.
the Vesak celebration, an image of the new-born
Buddha - in the gesture of pointing to the Truth
- is usually displayed in the shrine room.
use light (candles, butter lamps) to celebrate Vesak
to recall that the Buddha showed people how to become
enlightened. Why do you think lights are such a powerful
own lanterns and cards for Vesak. Decorate them
with symbols of the Buddha's birth and Enlightenment
such as lotus flowers, lights and the bodhi tree.
Use the "Creating Vesak Gift" eBook in the
"Activity Box" in this unit to make your Vesak
design of the Buddhist flag is based on six colours
of the aura that are believed to have shone around the
head of the Buddha after his Enlightenment.
first five stripes of the flag are in five colours. The
sixth colour is a conglomeration of the other five, but
for the design, it has been separated into its constituent
Buddhist flag is a modern creation but it has come to
symbolize the unity of Buddhists. It is now used worldwide
in nearly sixty countries during Buddhist festivals, particularly
during the Vesak celebrations.
[ In the "Activity Box" in this unit, find a
line drawing of a Buddhist flag to colour in as a Vesak
tree the Buddha attained Enlightenment under, in Bodh
Gaya, India, is called the bodhi tree. It is greatly revered
in Buddhism. A bodhi tree can usually be found in the
grounds of most temples or monasteries, and is decorated
with flags, lamps and lanterns for the Vesak celebration.
is a custom in Buddhist countries to paint on leaves from
a bodhi tree, usually a picture of the Buddha, to give
as gifts on Vesak day.
out all you can about 'Buddha Day' and how it is celebrated
in Buddhist countries. Then present your research as a
poster, a talk to your class or as a booklet.
In the "Activity Box" in this unit, find a line
drawing of a bodhi leaf with the Buddha's image to colour
in as a Vesak gift ]