Vesak/Wesak is a day celebrated by Buddhists around the world. The term Vesak is derived from the name of a month in Sri Lankan and Indian calenders. Vesak day is one of the most important festival days in the Buddhist calender, as it commemorates three significant events in Lord Buddhas life, namely his birthday, his enlightment and his passing away. The birth of Siddharta Gautama, the future Buddha Shakyamuni, took place in Lumbini, which today is in Nepal. It was under an arbor sat tree where queen Mahamaya Gave birth to him. The second event was Siddharta Gautama’s supreme attainment as the Buddha. The third event was Lord Buddhas Parinibbana over 2559 years ago according to Buddhist calender.
We generally wear white dress [Sil Adun] when visiting our temples on Vesak Poya day in order to participate in the traditional ceremonies at the Buddhist Pansalas. The majority of the pilgrims spends the whole day in the temple, reaffirming their determination to follow the teachings of the Buddha. The temples are filled with Ata Sil and Dasa Sil devotees and pilgrims from all over Sri Lanka celebrating this great event. In the temples the Buddhist worshippers lit lamps, offer flowers and lit incense sticks. Many religious activities are organized by the local village communities and by the government departments of Police, Army, Schools and notably by the the Department of Buddhist and Civil Organizations during this period at every temple of Sri Lanka. Activities include Sil campaigns, Bodi Pooja, Amisa Pooja, Perahara Processions, Coffee & Tea, Dansal [freely giving foods], Vesak devotional songs [Bakthi Gee/Bathi Gee], Kavi Bana preaching, pandols or thoran and lanterns.
Apart from Sri Lanka many other Asian countries celebrate the Vesak festival, too, for example Nepal, Singapore, Taiwan, India , Japan, Indonesia, Thailand, Bhutan.
Nuwan Chinthaka Gajanayaka