Marking the birth, enlightenment, and death of Gautama Buddha is considered to be the ninth Avatar or the incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Celebrated with great fervor, enthusiasm, and dedication, this festival is observed on 5th May 2023, which falls on Wednesday. Originally known by the name Siddhartha, Gautam Buddha is said to have achieved enlightenment and salvation or Nirvana on the same day.
Being observed on the full moon day of Vaishakha month as per the Hindu and Buddhist calendar, Buddha Purnima is often known as Vaishakha Purnima. A larger population of the world recognizes this day as Vesak or Buddha Day. As every Indian festival holds a special significance, Buddha Purnima also does carry a greater level of importance in every culture. Read more to reveal the significance & importance of Buddha Purnima.
Significance & Importance of Buddha Purnima
Promoting sacrifice, harmony, and violence, the founder of Buddhism, Gautham Buddha was born around 563 BC as Prince Siddhartha Gautama. Son of King Suddhodhan, Gautama was born in Lumbini, Nepal where at a young age he was married to Princess Yashodhara and later was blessed with a child.
Once on traveling in his royal chariot, he discovered that the world is in grievances, sorrow, and suffering. This made him understand the reality and give up his kingdom and family when he was only 29 years old.
His continuous meditation and sacrifice, made Gautama find enlightenment, soon after which he preached his disciples, became a spiritual teacher, and finally achieved salvation.
In fact, he was the first leader who renounced all the worldly pleasures, his family, and material possessions and led a simple life. His teachings are said to end the miseries, difficulties, and sorrows in one’s life. Buddha Purnima is not just about learning the principles of peace, non-violence, and love but adapting them in their lives.
How is Buddha Purnima celebrated?
Not just limiting the Buddha Purnima celebrations to Southeast Asia, this special day is also observed in many other countries such as Thailand, United States, Sri Lanka, Canada, India, Indonesia, Australia, South Vietnam, etc.
Declared as a gazetted holiday in a number of states of India, this festival is celebrated irrespective of religion, caste, or creed. In India, many devotees visit common Viharas, pilgrims, holy shrines of Buddha, Mahabodhi Tree, and his birthplace.
Prayer meets, reciting sermons and hymns of the life of Lord Buddha, and donating food, money, and goods to the needy are generally a part of the rituals. Some devotees also observe fast on this day, meditate and offer sweets to the Lord Buddha. This fast starts from dawn and ends as the full moon ascends in the night where the consumption of fruits and milk is allowed.
Symbolizing purity, the devotees of every culture dress in white, refrain themselves from eating non-vegetarian food and other pungent spices like garlic, onion, scallions, chives, etc.
Kheer which is the famous and most likable Indian dessert is prepared on this day. The reason ‘Kheer’ gains much importance this day is that a woman named Sujata once offered a bowl of this dessert to Gautam Buddha.
Along with taking bath, cleaning the surroundings, and sprinkling the holy Ganga water in the home, devotees on this day, light candles and decorate the home with flowers. In front of the entrance of the door, a Swastika is made using Haldi-Kumkum, and along with lighting a candle, milk is also poured near the Bodhi Tree.
A small Buddha idol for home is also placed in a basin full of water, decorated with vibrant colored flowers, fruits, and Kheer, which is then distributed among the devotees as Prasadam.
Holding great significance in the Buddhist community, Buddha Purnima is all about learning and adopting non-violence, peace, harmony, love, and embrace spirituality. On this auspicious occasion, get a Buddha idol for home to experience a level of sanctity and positivity in your life..!