Vesak Full Moon Poya in Sri Lanka in 2025

Vesak Full Moon Poya in Sri Lanka in 2025
Golden Buddha at Dambulla,Sri Lanka
  How long until Vesak Full Moon Poya?
Vesak Full Moon Poya
  Dates of Vesak Full Moon Poya in Sri Lanka
2025 May 12, May 13
Sri LankaTue, May 13National Holiday (additional day)
Sri LankaMon, May 12National Holiday
2024 May 23, May 24
Sri LankaFri, May 24National Holiday (additional day)
Sri LankaThu, May 23National Holiday
2023 May 5, May 6
Sri LankaSat, May 6National Holiday (additional day)
Sri LankaFri, May 5National Holiday
2022 May 15, May 16
Sri LankaMon, May 16National Holiday
Sri LankaSun, May 15National Holiday
2021 May 26, May 27
Sri LankaThu, May 27National Holiday (additional day)
Sri LankaWed, May 26National Holiday

Marks three key events in Buddhas life - his birthday, the enlightenment and his achievement of Nirvana

  Vesak Full Moon Poya in other countries
Vesak Full Moon Poya internationally
Related holidays

When is Wesak Day?

Wesak Day is a Holy Day for Buddhists. In fact, it is considered the holiest day in the Buddhist Calendar.

The Buddha's birthday is observed annually on the Sunday nearest to the full moon in May. It is a holiday observed by Buddhists across the world, though the exact date may differ from country to country.

In Malaysia, Wesak Day is also considered one of the country's major festivals. Buddhism is the second-largest religion after Islam.

In Indonesia, the holiday is known as Waisak Day.

History of Wesak Day

Besides being the time of the year when Buddhist temples sport a beautiful display of lights, it is also the time when Buddhists spend the whole sacred day at temples meditating, chanting prayers and offering alms to Buddhist monks.

An example of the celebrations at a temple during Wesak Day is the Vihara Temple at Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur. The celebrations start at sunrise when devotees gather at the temples to meditate. In the evening, a candlelight procession from the temple to Kuala Lumpur city takes place. Many thousands of Buddhists and spectators line the route of the procession, which is led by a decorated float with a statue of the Buddha in it.

After the procession returns to the temple, a special open-air blessing service is performed and a sermon on the significance of Wesak Day is held. Traditionally the rest of the night is spent with devoted meditating, chanting and offering prayers to Lord Buddha by monks in saffron robes.

To summarise, Wesak is important because it marks three key events in Lord Gautama Buddha's life - his birthday, the enlightenment and his achievement of Nirvana.

Even though followers of Buddhism have been celebrating Buddhist festivals for centuries, the decision to celebrate Wesak as Buddha's birthday was only taken at the first conference of the World Fellowship of Buddhists held in Sri Lanka in 1950. 

Traditions of Vesak Poya in Sri Lanka

In Sri Lanka, People decorate houses and the streets with candles and erect pandals (marquees) that depict the life of Buddha. During Vesak Full Moon Poya they offer prayers, chant scriptures and distribute food and sweets.

Apart from tourist destinations, all shops are closed and public transport will run on a Sunday schedule.

Vesak Poya was first proclaimed as a public holiday by Governor Sir Arthur Hamilton Gordon on March 27th 1885, while Sri Lanka was under British Rule.

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