Buddha Purnima is an Asian festival celebrated according to the traditional Hindu calendar and Buddhist calendar. It holds immense religious significance for the followers of Buddhism as it commemorates the birth anniversary of Lord Gautam Buddha, the founder of Buddhism. That is why it is also known as Buddha Jayanti.
It is also observed as the day of enlightenment of Lord Buddha. Not only for Buddhists, but this festival is important for Hindus as well. The people of the Hindu community, especially in culturally rich and diverse countries like India, and Nepal also celebrate the day with zeal and enthusiasm.
Buddha Purnima History
According to a legend, Gautam Buddha was born as Siddhartha Gautama, a Hindu Prince to Suddhodana and Maya Devi in c. 563-483 BCE on the Purnima Tithi or the full moon day in Lumbini, a region in modern-day Nepal. Hence, the day of his birth is also known as Buddha Purnima or Vaisakhi Buddha Purnima or Buddha Jayanti. In countries like Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Cambodia, Java, Indonesia, Tibet, and Mongolia, the day is celebrated as Vesak through the cultural festival.
Buddha left his kingdom to seek spiritual enlightenment, and in the process founded Buddhism in India. Lord Buddha was an extraordinary human, a seeker who attained enlightenment through meditation and wisdom and then embarked on his journey to preach his learnings to the people.
In Hinduism, Lord Buddha is considered the ninth avatar of Lord Vishnu. He was a philosopher, religious leader, spiritual guide, and enlightened being, who is known for preaching Dharma (duty), non-violence, peace and kindness. At the age of 30, he gave up his worldly possessions and suffered hardships searching for the truth and seeking penance in the hopes of liberating himself from suffering.
Buddha Purnima: Date & Time
The exact date of Buddha’s birthday is based on the Asian lunisolar calendar and the date of the celebration varies from year to year in the Western Gregorian calender. However, Budha Purnima usually falls on the Hindu month of Vaisakha on the full moon day and in April and May, as per Gregorian calendar while in leap years, it may be celebrated in June.
This year it will be observed on Monday, May 16, 2022. According to the Drik Panchang, the Purnima Tithi will be in effect from 12:45 pm on May 15 to 9:43 am on May 16. In South and Southeast Asian countries, the Buddha’s birht is celebrated as part of Vesak, a festival that also celebrates the Buddha’s enlightenment and death. In East Asia, the awakening and death of the Buddha are observed as separate holidays.
Buddha Purnima Significance
Every festival has its own significance but one thing that is common in each and every festival is that it unite people. No matter from which community and religion you belong, these festivals gives the message of love, respect and peace and promote the idea of co-existing.
Same goes with Buddha Purnima, the day on which people across the world, irrespective of their cast, race, religion, culture visit the places related to buddha and talk about the teachings of the lord. People love his ideas of Dharma, that is duty, non-violence, harmony and kindness. These teachings of Buddha are for every human being and we not matter to which religion we belong, we should follow these basic fundamentals of life.
Buddha Purnima Celebration
The auspicious day of Buddha Purnima is celebratedd with full fervor and enthusiam all around the world. On the day, Buddhaa idols are worshipped as well as prayer meets are held. Devotees visit Buddhist shrines, recite Buddhist scriptures and take part in religious discussions and group meditations.
On this beautiful occasion, the Mahabodhi temple in Bodhgaya in beautified with hued decorations and special prayers are held under the Bodhi tree, where Lord Buddha attained enlightenment. The national museum in Delhi lets people see the holy remains of Lord Buddha on the occasion.
People from Buddhist and Hindu community offers prayers, observe fast for the day, visit monasteries and discuss Buddha’s sermons with each other. People also take a dip in the sacred Ganges on Buddha Jayanti to wash away their sins. Some people also prepare a sweet dish called “Kheer” which is made using rice, milk and sugar, on the day of the festival.