Every religion has its own holidays. Such one is the holiday of Vesak. Vesak is a Buddhist holiday. So, several questions come to readers minds: “When is Vesak in 2017?” and “What does it exactly represent?”
The holiday happens customarily on the full-moon day of the second month. In the Indian calendar that is Vaisakha, so the holiday took the month’s name.
Vesak is devoted to Gautama Buddha’s brightening. This day everybody decorates their houses with lamps. In addition, local sanctuaries are ornamented with different garlands and fairy lamps. All of these symbolize the enlightenment, which is coming to the world. In Vesak, people send cards illustrated with life events of Gautama to their close friends and relatives, children, parents and all their families.
All night devotees go to the sanctuary in order to listen to darshans and meditate. As Thai tradition says, it is necessary to go around a friary thrice, in honor of Buddha, dharma, and sangha. These are three sanctities of Buddhism. Nobody is allowed to farm in Vesak, or do other activities, which can do harm to animals or plants or wildlife.
Thirty-four member countries of United Nations voted for acceptance of Vesak as an international holiday in state organizations of UN. December 13, 1999, on the session of General Assembly in New-York Vesak was accepted to be international. There is an interesting fact, that most of the countries, which supported the decision, are practice other religions rather than Buddhism.
The origin of Vesak day
In order to find out what day Vesak in 2017 occurs, we need to go into details of its origin and history.
The day of Vesak is the day of Buddha’s birth. In 1950 in Sri Lanka, the WFB agreed to define the holiday as formal one and consider it a state holiday. However, the holiday of Vaisakha is very ancient and had been celebrated every year for centuries by the time of the first World Fellowship’s convention.
In Vesak day Buddhists remember Buddha’s life in details: from his very birth to his death, and of course his enlightenment. After Vesak became a formal holiday, it was spread into other countries, as Buddhism came into many other cultures. Certainly, different nations celebrate Vesak differently. In different languages from Assamese to Vietnamese, it also gets different names.
So, let us learn when Vesak is in 2017 and how people celebrate it.
How do people celebrate Vesak day?
Before the sun rises devotees prepare for the holiday, for hosting the flag of Gautama Buddha. They sing hymns in honor of Buddhism values. Some devout Buddhists bring different gifts such as flowers or candles to put them at the feet of the statue of Gautama. They consider him to be their great teacher.
All the day people don’t eat any meat or animal products. It is forbidden to kill even insects. In some countries during 2 days of Vesak some shops, where alcohol or meat are sold, are always closed.
The most devout believers put white clothes on and spend all the day in sanctuaries in order to remember the 8 Precepts.
As Gautama Buddha said, all devotees should tend to lead a high-minded way of life and make acknowledgments to keep to the 5 Percepts every day. Besides, in special days such as full moon, they hallow all the precepts to keep an eye in morality, simplicity, humanity, and humility.
In sanctuaries, you can see a small figure of Gautama Buddha upstream of the altar. It is located in a water and flowers basin. Every person who comes to a temple can put the water over “Buddha” in the sign of brightening his bad karma.
Then devotees in a sanctuary listen to the speech of monks carefully. Monks read the precepts of Buddha in order to call for harmony and happiness for the whole country and every family and each person. The teachings tell people to be tolerant of other religions and live in peace with them on the single planet and to respect them. That represents what Buddha taught.
Tradition of Vesak
According to legend and the tradition of Buddhism, Gautama described in his writings the way people should worship him and the day when Vesak should occur. Thus, we can count easily what the date of Vesak is in 2017.
Before his death, Buddha saw his follower Ananda crying badly. Gautama told him not to groan and told him that there is no sense in tears. Death is natural and everything in the world tends to disintegrate, including all complicated things and even Ananda’s body. Buddha told people not to be sad because of somebody’s death, but take his lesson and accept his teaching, because only it is perpetual and cannot be changed.
Moreover, Buddha said that giving different gifts such as flowers is not an absolute gratitude to him for the knowledge. The real gratitude is to follow his teaching sincerely. That is the very heart of the holiday of Vesak: taking the opportunity to affirm your tough decision to lead the right way of life, being noble and wise, developing your mind and widening it, practicing kindness and bringing harmony over the planet.
The date of Vesak
As Vesak is named after the month where it is celebrated, so Vesak occurs in Vaisakha month of the Buddhist and Indian calendars. In other countries, the day of Vesak is different. However, there is an exception. In Japan every year, Vesak is celebrated exactly on April, 8. The date is not changeable.
If you want to learn when Vesak is in 2017, calendar will show you all the latest dates of the holiday. Let us take the Nepal calendar as the basis, because Nepal is the motherland of Vesak.
From 2004 to 2016 Vesak has been celebrated in May. Only the date has been changed. Here are the numbers: 3, 23, 13, 2, 20, 8, 27, 17, 6, 25, 14, 4. And in 2016 it occurred on May 21. According to moon calendar, in 2017 the holiday of Vesak will happen on 10th of May. It is Wednesday, the middle of the week.
Now we know what Vesak is, the sense of the holiday, and when it is celebrated. What rest is to wish all devout Buddhist happy Vesak day, harmony, peace in all the single universe, kindness, and happiness.