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Buddha Purnima: Date, Rituals & Significance of the Day

Shivam Dwivedi
Shivam Dwivedi
Lord Budhha
Lord Budhha

Buddha Purnima or Budhha Jayanti is observed as the birth anniversary of Lord Budhha. It falls in the month of Vaishak and is celebrated widely in the parts of North- east India. Buddha Jayanti, this year, will mark Lord Buddha’s 2583rd birth anniversary.

It is an auspicious day and it is believed that this was also the day Budhha attained enlightenment. Buddha Purnima falls on a full moon night, usually between April and May, and it is a gazetted holiday in India and will be observed on Wednesday, May 26, 2021.

Rituals of the Day:

  • On this day, early morning ritualistic prayers are organized in temples.

  • People light diyas around the Bodhi tree and offer water to its root.

  • After this, people listen story and sermons on the life of Lord Buddha.

  • Monks recite the Buddhist scriptures and practice intense meditation.

  • People also take part in the social welfare services, like giving alms to poor.

Significance & Importance:

  • As the date of Buddha Jayanti is based on Asian Lunisolar calendar, the exact date tends to vary every year. Although it generally falls on the Hindu month of Vaisakha on the full moon day, the date in the Western Gregorian calendar differs.

  • Gautama Buddha is believed to have given his first sermon in Sarnath. Also known as Shakyamuni (Sage of the Shakyas), Tathagata, He is regarded by people as the ‘Fully Awakened One’.

  • Lord Budhha was a phenomenal being - a spiritual guide, philosopher, religious leader, meditator who attained enlightenment after consistent meditation for 49 days under the Bodhi (banyan) tree in Bodh Gaya; and thereby unravelled the secret to end the ‘suffering’.

  • He preached Dharma, Non- Violence, Harmony & Kindness as the path to attain Nirvana for 45 years. Lord Buddha’s teachings, a compilation named ‘suttas’ is the foundation stone of Buddhism.

  • Though, being born into a Royal Shakya Family, he completely left the luxurious life and left home at the age of 30, led a life of austerity, penance in search of the truth that frees one from the pangs of suffering (dukha).

  • Buddhist people in India prefer to wear white clothes and avoid consuming non- vegetarian food. They have ‘kheer’ on this day as it is believed that a woman offered a bowl of milk to Gautam Buddha.

  • On the occasion of Buddha Purnima, many devotees visit Mahabodhi Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, located in Bodh Gaya, Bihar. Bodhi Temple is the location where Lord Buddha is believed to have attained enlightenment.

  • So, Budhha Purnima Celebration is all about praying with the purest of feelings, and acknowledging & adopting what Buddhism stands for Peace, Non- Violence and Harmony.

  • Other countries like Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Myanmar, Cambodia, Java, Tibet & Mongolia also commemorate this special day of Buddha Jayanti as ‘Vesak’ through an elaborate festival.

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