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Reema Bhalla Jan 31 2014

How is Buddha Purnima celebrated in India?

Debangana Sen Jan 31 2014
2 people found this answer useful Useful ?Yes

The Buddha Purnima or Vesak commemorates the birth, enlightenment and the death of Gautama Buddha. It is celebrated by Buddhists all over India, as well as its neighbours - Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and almost all the other South East Asian countries. The date of the celebration varies according to the different lunar calendars followed by different traditions. Buddha Purnima in India is usually celebrated on a full moon day during April-May.

Photo of the Sakyamuni Buddha idol (by Sandrog)

The celebrations begin very early in the morning where the followers are expected to come and assemble at their nearest temple and raise the Buddhist flag and chant hymns in the praises of the three holy gems: Buddha, Dharma (his teaching) and Sangha (his disciples). Buddhist Pilgrimage Circuit has some unique ceremonies on similar lines around the occassion.

Flowers, candles and incense sticks are brought as simple offerings which are to remind them of the temporary essence of life and that it is too small to waste it on decay and destruction. Some temples also have a small statue of Buddha, where the devotees can pour water on the statue as a symbolic act of cleansing away their past sins.

Photo of Vesak celebrations in India (by Tevaprapas Makklay)

Devotees are encouraged to refrain from meat and alcohol at least for that day. Various places release thousands of birds, animals and insects which is done as a symbolic act of liberation, to free the soul of earthly needs and desires. The Buddhist Circuit in India is definitely a good place to get to know more about the rituals and beliefs within the faith. The more devout usually wear simple white clothes and spend the entire day in the temple with a renewed enthusiasm to follow the eight Precepts. Monks give spiritual advice and remind the devotees of Buddha's teachings about following the right path, living in harmony with others of different religion and respecting their beliefs.

Photo of Vesak decorations (by Shehal Joseph)

Buddha Purnima in India is also a festival of spreading cheer and happiness around. Special efforts are made to bring happiness to the old and the underprivileged. The Buddhist followers usually go on a charity tour distributing money, food and clothes to the needy. Temples are beautifully decorated and paintings and other decors are put up depicting various moments of Buddha's life. Bodh Gaya is an interesting point in case. Devotees also bring vegetarian food to feed those who come to pay homage to Buddha. And last but not the least, devotees try to give Buddha true homage by following his beliefs and teachings. So if you are coming from Bangalore to celebrate the birth of Gautam Buddha, there is an direct Bangalore to Patna flight you can take.

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