The anniversary of Gautama Buddha (in Chinese traditional佛诞; Hanyu Pinyin: for dàn; Cantonese: fātdàahn) is traditionally celebrated in East Asia the 8th day of the 4th month of Chinese lunar calendar. It is an official holiday in Hong Kong, Macao and South Korea.
The date varies each year in the Western Gregorian calendar:
* 2003: May 8
* 2004: May 26
* 2005: May 15
* 2006: May 5
* 2007: May 24
* 2008: May 12
* 2009: May 2
* 2010: May 21
* 2011: May 10
* 2012: May 28
* 2013: May 17
* 2014: May 6
* 2015: May 25
The different names
We call this feast Visakah Puja or Buddha Purnima in India, Bangladesh and Nepal, Visakah Bucha in Thailand, Phat Dan in Vietnam, Waisak in Indonesia, or Wesak Vesak in Sri Lanka and Malaysia, and Saga Dawa in Tibet. In Laos, the festival is equivalent Vixakha Bouxa and Burma, we talk about Ka-sone.
In Sri Lanka
This is one of the most important celebrations in Sri Lanka. It is celebrated on the day of the full moon. The people practice religious rites and decorate the houses and streets with lights and lanterns made for the occasion.
In Japan, Buddha's birthday is celebrated on April 8, but this is not an official national holiday. It is also called the festival of flowers (in Japanese: Hana-matsuri or Kanbutsu-e). The kids drink traditionally the amacha, a drink prepared from a variety of hydrangea.
In South Korea
In South Korea, Buddha's birthday is celebrated in accordance with the timetable luni-solar. This day is called 부처님 오신 날 (Bucheonim osin nal), which means the days of the arrival of Buddha or Seokka Tanshin it is the day of the birth of Buddha. The paper lanterns in the shape of a lotus cover all the temples for a month, and often there are these lanterns hanging everywhere in the streets. On the day of the birth of Buddha many temples offer free meals and tea to all visitors. The breakfast and meals are often composed of sanchae bibimbap.
In India, the day of commemoration of the birth, enlightenment and death of Buddha is called Vesak (named after the first month of Hindu calendar, Vaisakha).
The commemoration takes place at the Poya day of the month of May (full moon of May).
In Indonesia, the night of full moon of May, held a festival at Borobudur temple in Central Java. A torchlight procession takes place at the temple of Mendut, located 8 km, juice than Borobudur. There, the procession climbed the stairs to the summit. Hundreds of Buddhist monks in saffron robes the lead, carrying flowers and candles to light when the moon appears on the horizon. The monks begin their prayers, meditation and chanting until late at night.
In some places there is a holiday one week later, the 15th day of the 4th month of the Chinese calendar, so as to coincide with the full moon. For example, Wan Vaisakh Bucha or Lê Phät dàn Vietnam was one of those celebrations on May 12, 2006. Singapore is also celebrating Vesak Day on the 15th day of the 4th month of the Chinese calendar (for calculating the coming festivals add 7 days on the dates above)
Read also Lao-tseu