When is Buddha's Birthday in 2018?
Buddha Purnima is the most sacred day in the Buddhist calendar. It is the most important festival of the Buddhists, and is celebrated with great enthusiasm.
Although Buddhists regard every full moon as sacred, the moon of the month of Vaisakh has special significance because on this day the Buddha was born, attained enlightenment (nirvana), and attained parinirvana (nirvana-after-death of the body) when he died.
Shakyamuni Buddha, the historical founder of Buddhism, was born in India 3,000 years ago. There are various opinions concerning the exact dates of his birth and death, but according to Buddhist tradition, he is said to have been born April 8, 1029 BC and died on February 15, 949 BC, although other Buddhist scholars place his birth five hundred years later.
Shakyamuni Buddha was the son of the king of the Shakyas, a small clan whose kingdom was located at the foothills of the Himalayas, south of what is now central Nepal, fifteen miles from Kapilavastu. Shakya of Shakyamuni is taken from the name of this tribe and muni means sage or saint. His family name was Gautama (Best Cow) and his given name was Siddhartha (Goal Achieved) though some scholars say this is a title bestowed on him by later Buddhists in honour of the enlightenment he attained.
Even though many Buddhists observe Buddha's historical birth on April 8, the exact date remains in question. Although modern archeological and historical research confirms that Prince Siddartha Gotama lived around this time.
The exact date of Vesak is the first full moon in the fourth month in the Chinese lunar calendar. The date varies from year to year in the Gregorian calendar, but is typically in May.
Around the world
In 2018, Buddha Purnima is listed as a holiday in the following Indian states: Andaman & Nicobar, Bihar, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Jammu and Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Mizoram, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal.
In Singapore, Veska Day celebrations include monks chanting and acts of generosity are observed by Buddhist organizations and temples.
These include the freeing of caged birds and animals, visiting and giving alms to the poor and needy. Silent marches or meditations in the evening end the daylong celebration.
Following the Second World war, there was a campaign in Singapore to make Vesak Day a national holiday. It was finally made a national holiday in 1955.
In Thailand, Buddha's birthday is known as Visakha Bucha Day. It is a holy day, so shops, bars and restaurants are barred from selling alcohol for 24 hours from midnight until midnight.
All Government offices and many businesses will be closed. Schools and colleges may hang out yellow Buddhist flags to mark the day.