Visakha Bucha Day (วันวิสาขบูชา) or Wan Pra Yai วันพระใหญ่ marks the three important incidents in the life of Lord Buddha (พระพุทธเจ้า) on the same day – the full moon of the sixth lunar month. The three significant separate events are :
1. The Buddha’s Birth (ประสูติ)
2. The Enlightenment of Buddha (ตรัสรู้) – While sitting under the Bodhi tree, he found his answer and attained the enlightenment at the age of 35 years.
3. The Nibbana (ปรินิพพาน)- The Buddha passed away on Tuesday, the Vesak full moon day in the zodiac year of the small snake under the two Sal trees in the Sala Grove of the Mallas in Kusinara, the capital of the Malla state, (nowadays located in Kusinagara of Uttrarapradesa, India) at the age of eighty years (around 2547 years ago).Wisaka Bucha Day falls every year in the month of May. This year it is Friday, May 20.
Wisaka Bucha Day is regognized as most important memorial day in Buddhism for the Lord Buddha. Wisaka Bucha day is also recognized by the UNESCO in 1999 as “World Heritage Day”. Thailand where is the permanent location of the World Fellowship of Buddhists, was chosen to host celebrating event for the day.
Activities to be observed on Visakha Bucha Day
Common activities during Visakha Bucha Day focus on merit making:
“ตักบาตร dtàk bàat” : Offering food to monks and novices in the morning,
“ฟังธรรม fang tam” : Some people visit the temples to listen to Dhamma preaching
“ทำบุญ tam bun” : Making merit by going to temples for special observances, making merit, giving some donations and join in the other Buddhist activities.
“ปล่อยนกปล่อยปลา bpòi nók bpòi bplaa”: Setting birds or fish free to get rid of bad karma.
After sunset, candle-lit processions take place at major temples throughout the country. The devout Buddhists walk three times around the principle chapel clockwise (เดินเวียนเทียน), each clasping three incense sticks, a lighted candle and lotus buds. The air is filled with burning incense and smoke from the candles as the faithful complete this most sacred of Buddhist celebrations.
Source: Public Relations Department of Royal Thai Government Photo credit:variety.horoworld.com, dmc.tv