One day of Eid-ul-Fitar, which marks the end of Ramadan, is a gazetted holiday in India. more
Vesak (Buddha Purnima, Buddha Jayanti) is a Buddhist festival that marks Gautama Buddha's birth, enlightenment and death. It falls on the day of the Full Moon in April or May and it is a gazetted holiday in India.
Is Buddha Purnima/Vesak a Public Holiday?
Buddha Purnima/Vesak is a public holiday. It is a day off for the general population, and schools and most businesses are closed.
In 2019 it falls on a Saturday. Due to this, some businesses may choose to follow Saturday opening hours.
What Do People Do?
Many Buddhists visit temples on Vesak to listen to monks give talks and recite ancient verses. Devout Buddhists may spend all day in one or more temples. Some temples display a small statue of Buddha as a baby. The statue is placed in a basin filled with water and decorated with flowers. Visitors to the temple pour water over the statue. This symbolizes a pure and new beginning.
Many Buddhists pay special attention to Buddha's teachings during Vesak. They may wear white robes and only eat vegetarian food on and around Vesak. Many people also give money, food or goods to organizations that help the poor, the elderly and those who are sick. Caged animals are bought and set free to display care for all living creatures, as preached by Buddha.
Government offices, post offices and banks are closed in India on Vesak. Stores and other businesses and organizations may be closed or have reduced opening hours. Transport is usually unaffected as many locals travel for religious celebrations.
Gautama Buddha was a spiritual teacher in India. Many scholars are uncertain when he lived. It is believed that Buddha was born at some time between sixth and fourth centuries BCE. Opinions among scholars are generally divided between those who place Buddha's death about 480 BCE and those who place it as much as a century later.
Buddha was an influential spiritual teacher during and after his lifetime. Many Buddhists see him as the Supreme Buddha. Festivals to honor Buddha were held for many centuries. The decision to celebrate Vesak as the Buddha's birthday was formalized at the first conference of the World Fellowship of Buddhists. This conference was held in Colombo, Sri Lanka, in May, 1950. The date was fixed as the day of the Full Moon in May.
Different Buddhist communities may celebrate Vesak on different dates in years when there are two full moons in May. This is because the Buddhist lunar calendar can be interpreted in different ways.
The dharmacakra or dharma wheel is a symbol often seen during Vesak. It is a wooden wheel with eight spokes. The wheel represents Buddha's teaching on the path to enlightenment. The eight spokes symbolize the noble eightfold path of Buddhism.
Note: Vesak is not to be confused with Vaisakhi, which is another observance that is marked in India.
Buddha Purnima/Vesak Observances
Holiday currently only shown for years 2015–2020.
Note: During a gazetted holiday, government offices and most businesses are closed so people have a day off work.
|2015||Mon||May 4||Buddha Purnima/Vesak||Gazetted Holiday|
|2016||Sat||May 21||Buddha Purnima/Vesak||Gazetted Holiday|
|2017||Wed||May 10||Buddha Purnima/Vesak||Gazetted Holiday|
|2018||Mon||Apr 30||Buddha Purnima/Vesak||Gazetted Holiday|
|2019||Sat||May 18||Buddha Purnima/Vesak||Gazetted Holiday|
|2020||Thu||May 7||Buddha Purnima/Vesak||Gazetted Holiday|
You might also like
Father’s Day celebrates fatherhood and male parenting on different dates worldwide. more
How does the 12-hour clock system work? Is midnight 12 am or 12 pm? more
Daylight Saving Time (DST) is the practice of setting the clocks forward one hour from standard time during the summer months, and back again in the fall, in order to make better use of natural daylight. more