Vesak: the Buddhist festival of light

Vesak, also known as the Buddhist festival of light, is one of the most important festivals celebrated by Buddhists all around the world. This festival commemorates the birth, enlightenment, and demise of the Buddha, who is considered the founder of the Buddhist religion. The festival is celebrated annually on the full moon day of the month of May.

The commemoration covers two aspects: “Amisa Puja” and “Prathipaththi Puja”. Amisa puja practices charity, almsgiving, hoisting pandols, and lighting lanterns. During Vesak, the streets are adorned with beautiful and colorful lanterns, and temples are decorated with flowers and lights. The streets are also lined with food stalls offering a variety of traditional Sri Lankan delicacies for free.

Pandols are large and intricate structures built to depict stories and teachings from the life of the Buddha. These are decorated with colorful lights, flowers, and other ornaments and are a feast for the eyes.

Vesak Pandol

Prathipaththi puja, on the other hand, is the time for reflection and introspection for Buddhists. It is a time to contemplate the teachings of the Buddha and to strive towards achieving inner peace and enlightenment. Many Buddhists take part in meditation retreats and engage in other spiritual practices during the festival.

The Vesak festival is not only celebrated by Buddhists but is also recognized by the United Nations as a day of observance. The UN General Assembly recognized Vesak as an international day in 1999, and since then, it has been celebrated at the UN headquarters in New York and other locations around the world.

The festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm and is a time for people to come together, share joy and kindness, and remember the teachings of the Buddha.

Vesak Lantern

Source: ASTL Team

Image credit: respective owners