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Day of Vesak

Millions of Buddhists celebrate Vesak Day, an officially recognized United Nations (UN) holiday that celebrates the birth of Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism.

Vesak Day celebrates Buddha's birthday.
Vesak Day celebrates Buddha's birthday.

Celebrate Vesak Day

The UN celebrates Vesak Day (or the Day of Vesak) with Buddhist organizations and communities worldwide. Celebrations include:

  • Cultural performances featuring song and dance.
  • Plays about Buddha’s life and teachings.
  • Public messages given by religious and community leaders.

Temples are adorned with decorations and flowers on Vesak Day. Some community groups organize acts of charity, like releasing caged animals or donating food and gifts to the poor.

Public Life

Vesak Day is a global observance, as well as a public holiday in some countries, such as India.

About Vesak Day

Siddhartha Gautama, also commonly known as Buddha (enlightened one), lived in present-day India and Nepal between the sixth and fourth century BCE. His teachings focused on messages about compassion, peace and goodwill. Millions around the world follow the teachings of the Buddha today. The Day of Vesak commemorates Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and death.

In 1999 the UN recognized internationally Vesak Day to acknowledge the contribution that Buddhism, one of the oldest religions in the world, has made for over 2500 years. This day is commemorated annually at the UN Headquarters and other UN offices and missions.

Day of Vesak Observances

WeekdayDateYearNameHoliday TypeWhere It is Observed
ThuMay 272010Day of VesakUnited Nations observance 
TueMay 172011Day of VesakUnited Nations observance 
SunMay 62012Day of VesakUnited Nations observance 
SatMay 252013Day of VesakUnited Nations observance 
TueMay 132014Day of VesakUnited Nations observance 
MonJun 12015Day of VesakUnited Nations observance 
FriMay 202016Day of VesakUnited Nations observance 

Quick Facts

Vesak Day is a Buddhist holiday that celebrates the birth of its founder. It is usually observed on the day of the full moon in May.

Day of Vesak 2016

Friday, May 20, 2016

Day of Vesak 2017

Day of Vesak does not occur in 2017


Name in other languages

Day of VesakEnglish
Día de VesakSpanish
"Vesak", היום של הירח המלאHebrew
بيوم فيساكArabic
(석가 탄신일Korean

List of dates for other years

World Holiday on May 20, 2016

Fun Holidays on May 20, 2016

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