Buddhas birthday is a holiday traditionally celebrated in different parts of the world, especially in Asia. This holiday commemorates the birth of Prince Siddhartha Gautama. He is later known as Gautama Buddha and the founder of the Buddhism religion. This holiday also commemorates the enlightenment and death of Buddha. In this article, let us get to know more about Buddha’s Birthday and how it is celebrated in different parts of the world.
What is Buddhas Birthday?
Buddhas Birthday is a traditional celebration every year, either in April or May, which commemorates the birth of Gautama Buddha, the key figure of the Buddhism religion. In some parts of Asia, Buddha’s birthday is also known as Vesak.
History of Buddhas Birthday
According to the Theravada Tripitaka scriptures, or known as three baskets in English, Siddhartha Gautama was born on 563 B.C. in Lumbini which is the modern day Nepal. He was then raised n Shakya capital of Kapilvastu, which is either the modern day Tilaurokot in Nepal or Piprahwa in India. When he was 35 years old, Gautama attained enlightenment or nirvana under a Bodhi tree at Bodhgaya which is the modern day India. After this, Gautama delivered his first ever sermon at Sarnath in India. When he was 80 years old, Gautama died in Kushinagar in India. His followers continued his legacy and propagated his religion. Being this prominent, the birth of Buddha is celebrated as Buddha’s Birthday every year.
Siddhartha Gautama, more commonly known as Gautama Buddha, was a sage who founded the teachings and religion of Buddhism. He is believed to have taught mostly in northeastern part of ancient India. According to Buddhists, Gautama Buddha is an enlightened teacher who was able to attain full Buddhahood and shared his insights and teachings to help beings about rebirth and suffering. Buddha means the awakened one or the enlightened one. In Buddhism, Gautama Buddha is regarded as the supreme Buddha.
When is Buddha’s Birthday?
The exact date of Buddha’s Birthday is derived on the lunisolar calendar in Asia. The date varies year to year in the Western Gregorian calendar. However, it usually falls in April or May. It may even be celebrated in June during leap years. This year, the upcoming Buddha’s Birthday is on 19 May, , to be celebrated all over the world.
How to Celebrate Buddha’s Birthday?
The celebration of Buddha’s Birthday can vary from one country to another. However, they all celebrate the same prominent figure and the traditions have many similarities. Let us go through how different countries celebrate Buddha’s Birthday.
A celebration of Buddha’s Birthday in Japan
Of people who have religion in Japan, a large percentage of them are Buddhists or those practicing Buddhism. Buddha’s Birthday in Japan is known as Kanbutsu-e or Hanamatsuri. It is held on April 8. However, this day is not a national holiday in Japan. Most people display Buddha statues in their homes and pour some beverage from a variety of hydrangea on these statues. They also decorate the statues with flowers. People also bathe the Buddha statues. Some even celebrate by doing Lion dancing.
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A celebration of Buddha’s Birthday in India
The primary religion in India is Buddhism and this country is believed to be where Buddha attained enlightenment or nirvana. Buddha’s birthday is a public holiday in India. People who celebrate usually go to Viharas to observe a full-length sutra. The dress code here is white. People usually avoid non-vegetarian food. They also serve Kheer, a sweet rice porridge, to remember the story of Sujata who is a maiden that offered a bowl of porridge to Buddha.
A celebration of Buddha’s Birthday in Nepal
Nepal is the birthplace of Buddha and is also where a large percentage of the religion is Buddhism. Buddha’s birthday is celebrated on the full moon of May in Nepal. People in Nepal celebrate Buddha’s birthday not extravagantly but gently and serenely in a fervor. They keep in mind the nature of Buddhism – the inherent peace and calmness. People usually go to Viharas to observe a full length sutra. They dress white and eat non-vegetarian good. They also serve sweet rice porridge known as Kheer.
A celebration of Buddha’s Birthday in North Korea
Buddha’s Birthday is a public holiday in North Korea and they call it as Chopail. The celebration of Buddha’s Birthday has long been a standard in the entire Korean peninsula even before its separation into North and South. As a means of celebration, people usually hand lanterns in their homes and on the streets. People also tend to visit temples that provide free tea and meals to visitors.
A celebration of Buddha’s Birthday in South Korea
In South Korea, Buddha’s birthday is celebrated as a national public holiday and the date is based on the Korean Lunar calendar. People celebrate this event by hanging lotus lanterns on the streets and also inside their own homes. In addition, people usually celebrate this day even those with religion that is not of Buddhism. Temples usually provide free meals and tea to visitors which is why many people visit temples during this day. The food provided is usually sanchae bibimbap.
A celebration of Buddha’s Birthday in the Philippines
There are also Buddhists in the Philippines. Around 2% of the population of the Philippines practice Buddhism. Filipinos call this Vesak or Araw ng Bisyak. However, it is not a public holiday. The day is celebrated only by a small community of Buddhists in the country. They usually celebrate by bathing their Buddha statues.
A celebration of Buddha’s Birthday in the USA
As mentioned earlier, Buddha’s Birthday is celebrated all over the world. Hence, it is celebrated not only in Asia but also outside of it. One of the countries outside Asia that celebrates Buddha’s Birthday is the USA. However, the celebration differs from one community to another depending on the nationality and ethnicity. For instance in New York, the International Lotus Lantern Parade is done each year in Union Square Park to celebrate Buddha’s birthday. Various Buddhist themed events are featured in the festival which is organized by different Buddhist centers of Japanese, Korean, Indian, and Sri Lankan origins.
A celebration of Buddha’s Birthday in Australia
Buddha’s birthday is also celebrated in Australia. For instance, it is celebrated in Sydney at the Nan Tien Temple in Wollongong Australia. Another celebration is organized at Darling Harbor which features a ceremony with various vegetarian foods, cultural stalls, and multicultural performances of Buddhists from China, Vietnam, Japan, India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Australia, and many more.
Buddha’s birthday is also celebrated in Brisbane. They call it the Buddha Birth Day Festival which is held each year featuring a variety of pan-Asian food and multicultural performances. The event lasts for an entire weekend and it attracts about 200,000 visitors each year.
Buddha’s Birthday Quotes, SMS, and WhatsApp Status
Buddha’s Birthday is celebrated in many ways such as worshipping the Buddha Statues, conducting various festivals, parading Lotus Lanterns, and many more. However, to make the celebration a lot better, you can share some Buddha’s Birthday Quotes, SMS, or WhatsApp and Facebook Status with your friends and families. Here are some quotes worth sharing. These quotes came from Siddhartha Gautama himself and are very motivational:
- It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell.
- You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.
- Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.
- In the sky, there is no distinction of east and west; people create distinctions out of their own minds and then believe them to be true.
- Even death is not to be feared by one who has lived wisely.
- If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change.
- If you truly loved yourself, you could never hurt another.
- To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.
- Love the whole world as a mother loves her only child.
Buddhas Birthday Conclusions
Those are the most important things you need to know about Buddha’s Birthday. You now know what Buddha’s birthday is, who is Siddhartha Gautama, and how different countries celebrate Buddha’s birthday. To up your celebration, you should also share the inspiring and motivational quotes and messages for Buddha’s Birthday given above.