Visakhabucha: The Day of the Full Moon

 | Tue 21 May 2013 15:04 ICT

This Friday, May 24th, marks the start of the Visakhabucha celebration in the Buddhist religion, which is recognized as one of the most significant memorial days in Buddhism. The Visakhabucha is devoted to worshiping the teachings and discoveries of Buddha, recollecting his wisdom and compassion. The celebration takes place on Buddha’s birthday, the Visakhabucha Day, which usually occurs during the first full moon in May.

Visakhabucha at Wat Umong

On Visakhabucha, Buddhists commemorate the three most important stages in Buddha’s life: Birth, Enlightenment and Death, each occurring on the same calendar day of their zodiac year. Buddha was born in present-day Nepal on the morning of the Visakhabucha full moon day in the year 623 B.C. Personally known as Siddhartha, Buddha achieved his Enlightenment at the age of thirty-five while sitting under the Bodhi tree, later sharing his new-found knowledge during his travels. At the age of eighty, approximately 2500 years ago, Buddha passed away while lying beneath two Sal trees.

Although the holiday is not celebrated on the same day in every country, it has been observed by the United Nations since 1999 as an International Day to recognize the contributions of Buddhism to the spirituality of humanity.