Vesak is one of the holiest religious days for Buddhists and is a holiday in many Southeast Asian countries. Although Vesak goes by different names throughout Southeast Asia, it marks Buddha’s birth, day of enlightenment and death. According to Buddhism, these events all occurred on the full moon of the sixth lunar month. The date can vary based on the lunar calendars of each country, but in much of Southeast Asia the holiday usually falls on the full moon in May. This year Thailand, Malaysia, Bangladesh, India and other countries celebrated Vesak yesterday, May 13.
During Vesak celebrations, Buddhists often attend service at their temples. Another common practice involves pouring water over the shoulders of Buddha. Referred to as ‘bathing the Buddha,’ the ceremony reminds participants to cleanse their thoughts of greed, ignorance and hate.
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