Tuesday May 29, 2018 is Vesak Day, often referred to as Buddha Day. It celebrates the birth, awakening and parinirvana (death) of Gautama Buddha. All three events are said to have occurred on the same day (in different years of course!) to Prince Siddhartha Gautama, later Gautama Buddha.
Millions of Buddhists all over the world celebrate Vesak Day, an officially recognized United Nations (UN) holiday.
It took Nova Scotia until 2015 to enact Heritage Day (Family Day in much of the rest of Canada) so I won’t hold my breath on us adopting Vesak Day as a provincial holiday, not so close to Victoria Day !
Like New Years’ day. the exact date of Buddha’s Birthday is based on the Asian lunisolar calendar. It is celebrated on the full moon day of the Vaisakha month of the Buddhist calendar.
On Vesak Day, we celebrate with cultural activities, decorating the Temple with flowers and performing acts of charity.
Importantly, Vesak Day is observed by taking the eight Mahayana Precepts*
- Avoid killing, directly or indirectly.
- Avoid stealing and taking things without the permission of their owner.
- Avoid sexual contact.
- Avoid lying and deceiving others.
- Avoid intoxicants: alcohol, tobacco and recreational drugs. (You may take prescription drugs.)
- Avoid eating more than one meal that day. The meal is taken before noon, and once one has stopped eating for 30 minutes, the meal is considered finished. At other times of the day one can take light drinks, but not undiluted whole milk or fruit juice with pulp. Avoid eating meat, chicken, fish, eggs, onions, garlic and radishes.
- Avoid sitting on a high, expensive bed or seat with pride. Also avoid sitting on animal skins.
- Avoid wearing jewelry, perfume, and makeup. Avoid singing, dancing or playing music with attachment