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What Is Wesak Day?

What Is Wesak Day?

Hakim Hassan

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We know it’s a public holiday, but what’s Wesak day exactly?

Also known internationally as Vesak day or Buddha day, it is to commemorate the birth, death and enlightenment of Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism.

Following the Indian lunar calendar, Wesak is usually celebrated during the first full moon in the month of Vesakha which is around May or July and for this year, it falls on 7 April.

The way Wesak is celebrated differs according to countries but in Malaysia, devotees would begin the ceremony at dawn by gathering at Buddhist temples nationwide to meditate and sing hymns.

There’s also a candle procession and the symbolic offering of flowers made by devotees who would donate food to the underprivileged or monks.

Besides that, they would also partake in the ritual of bathing of the Buddha statue, which symbolises purification and the cleansing of a practitioner’s soul of bad karma.

Thousands of birds, insect, and animals will be released also be released as a symbol of liberation.

There’s also the Wesak Day processions where Buddha statues are paraded in different locations, you can view last year’s celebrations below.

Sadly, the celebrations for this year is cancelled in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, but groups such as the Malaysian Buddhist Association (MBA) will instead have online programmes for devotees.

Being a multiracial country with a multitude of ethnicities, it’s always great for us to better understand the cultures which reside in this nation that we call home.

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