Vesak day is one of the biggest days of the year and is celebrated by Buddhists all over the world. It is celebrated on the day of the full moon in May.
In Sri Lanka, Vesak festival categorize as religious and cultural festival. With the intervention of Sir Henry Steel Ollcot, in 1885, the government made Vesak Poya day the public holiday.
Buddhists commemorate the important events that took place in the life of Lord Buddha on this day. That are birth, enlightenment and passing away into Nirvana of the Lord Buddha.
Looking back on Buddhist history, we can learn many more important events took place on this valuable day. One of them is prediction of future Buddhahood from Dipankara Buddha. Price Siddhartha got disappointed of lay life at seeing sick person on this day. Not only that also Ananda Thero attained Pari nibbana on Vesak Poya day.
According to the Buddhist history Buddha’s third visit to Sri Lanka (Kelaniya) also took place on a Vesak full moon Poya day. That event took place on after the eight years from Lord Buddha’s enlightenment and also Buddha visited Kelaniya at the invitation of the Naga King Maniakkhika of Kelaniya.
At the invitation of God Saman, Lord Buddha visited ‘Sri Padaya’ and set the ‘Sri Pada’ on Mount Samanala.So mark this valuable event, season for worship Sri Pada ended on Vesak Poya day.
Also ‘Solosmasthana’ have been hallowed by visits of Gautama Buddha on Vesak Full Moon Poya Day.
The annual Vesak Perahera of Temple of Tooth is held on Vesak Poya day.
Not only that many ancient Kings did important events on this Poya day. King Devanampiyatissa received the royal seat second time. The foundation stone for the ‘Ruwanweli Seya’ was laid by King Dutugamunu and King Vijaya arrived our country on Vesak Poya day.
So many events held on Vesak Poya day from ancient times. So, we celebrate this Poya day with great devotion.
In Sri Lanka, many religious activities are organized during this period. In this season, in electrically lit Vesak pandols called ‘thorans’ are erected at public places. Buddhists decorate their houses with colorful lanterns called ‘Vesak koodu’. Dansals organized by Buddhists devotees provide free food and drinks to passerby.
Vesak is also a great festival that brings us happiness and peace. This festival not only lit environment but also it lit our hearts with devotion.