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Vesak Celeberation in Sri Lanka

Updated on September 21, 2007
A "vesal pandal" depicting events from Buddha's life.
A "vesal pandal" depicting events from Buddha's life.

Significance of Vesak in the Buddhist World

"Vesak" is the festival, which is celebrated with high enthusiasm and elaborate preparations. Basically this is a religious festival commemorating the birth of Buddha the founder of Buddhism. This festival is celebrated in all the countries where Buddhists live in considerable number. These include India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Tibet, Laos, Myanmar and Sri Lanka. However the name of the festival vary widely. "Vesak" is a word in Singhalese, the language of the majority Buddhists in Sri Lanka. The main emphasis in celebrating this festival is to commemorate the events in Buddha's life namely his birth, enlightenment and passing away. Generally, the purpose of festival remains same all over the world, the way it is celebrated defer.

In determining the day of vesak, traditional lunar calendar is followed. It does not always coincide with a specific date of the western calendar, but it falls on the full moon day of the month of May.

A rotating vesak lantern with changing colour lights.

A Vesak decoration created with colour electric lights.

Another vesak pandal

As it is mainly a religious event, for devout Buddhists, religious observances form the main activities of the festival. They generally wear white dress and go to the temple and participate in the traditional ceremonies there. Many of them spend the whole day in the temple and reaffirm their determination to follow the teachings of Buddha. Other than the exclusive religious aspects of the festival, the Buddhists of Sri Lanka, decorate their houses and public places and arrange for various cultural events to bring happiness to everyone on that day.

Vesak Lanterns

People make Lanterns, which are generally referred to as vesak lanterns, of various shapes and sizes incorporating coloured electric lights. These lanterns are displayed in private houses as well as in streets and public places. Huge lanterns with considerable artistic appeal attract many people to the places where they are displayed.

Vesak Pandals

Another feature of the festival decoration is large decorative structures, "known as vesak pandal", placed at important locations such as road junctions. They normally depict events from Buddha's life and elaborately decorated with coloured electric bulbs forming dynamic patterns. These highly creative works never fail to attract thousands of people to these locations.


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      sanjaya 3 years ago

      the vesak is good

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      Dimani Sasadara 6 years ago

      I lv sri lanka very I miss sl.good job

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      senali 6 years ago

      harima lassanay mama mehe ne

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      Jasmina Raymond  7 years ago

      Thank you For the article . It Really helped with homework

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      Nigel frm australia 8 years ago

      thx mate for this on vesak

    • Rmnathan profile image

      Rmnathan 9 years ago from Sharjah

      Thanks for your comments Luckey.

    • Lucky Dog profile image

      Lucky Dog 9 years ago

      I really enjoyed it! thank you!

    • Rmnathan profile image

      Rmnathan 10 years ago from Sharjah

      cgull8m, Thanks for your comments.

    • cgull8m profile image

      cgull8m 10 years ago from North Carolina

      Good hub, I have bookmarked the article for my Sri Lankan friends. Thanks.