Vesak

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Vesākha (Pali; Sanskrit: Vaiśākha वैशाख) is an annual holiday observed traditionally by Buddhists in the Indian subcontinent, Sri Lanka, and the South East Asian countries of Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Indonesia.[1] Sometimes informally called "Buddha's Birthday", it actually encompasses the birth, enlightenment (nirvāṇa), and passing away (Parinirvāna) of Gautama Buddha.[2]

The exact date of Vesākha varies according to the various lunar calendars used in different traditions. In Theravada countries following the Buddhist calendar, it falls on the full moon Uposatha day (typically the 5th or 6th lunar month). Vesākha Day in China is on the eighth of the fourth month in the Chinese lunar calendar. The date varies from year to year in the Western Gregorian calendar, but falls in April or May.

In 2010 the first full moon day in May is 27 May.[3] However, Myanmar and Cambodia observed the event on April 28, 2010.

Contents

Names for Vesākha

In Mahayana Buddhist traditions, the holiday is known by its Sanskrit name, वैशाख Vaiśākha, and derived variants of it. Vesākha is known as Vesak or Wesak (衛塞節) in the Sinhalese language.

It is also known as:

  • बुद्ध पुर्णिमा Buddha Purnima or बुद्ध जयंती Buddha Jayanti in India and Nepal
  • বুদ্ধ পূর্ণিমা/বুদ্ধ জয়ন্তী Bud-dho Purnyima or Bud-dho Joyonti in Bangladesh
  • 花祭 (Hanamatsuri) in Japan,
  • 석가 탄신일 Seokka Tanshin-il (Hanja: 釋迦誕身日) in Korean,
  • 佛誕 (Mandarin: Fódàn, Cantonese: Fātdàahn) in Chinese-speaking communities,
  • Phật Đản in Vietnamese,
  • ས་ག་ཟླ་བ། Saga Dawa (sa ga zla ba) in Tibetan,
  • ကဆုန်လပြည့်ဗုဒ္ဓနေ့ (Kasone la-pyae Boda nei), lit. "Full Moon Day of Kason," the second month of the traditional Burmese calendar
  • វិសាខបូជា Visak Bochéa in Khmer,
  • ວິຊຂບູຊ Vixakha Bouxa in Laotian,
  • วันวิสาขบูชา Visakha Puja (or Visakha Bucha) in Thai,
  • Waisak in Indonesia,
  • වෙසක් පසළොස්වක පෝය Vesak [Wesak] in Sri Lanka and Malaysia

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