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Vesakha (in the antique Pali language) is based on the Indian month (vaisaka) which runs from April to May. Sometimes we see Wisakha of Visakha written, that is the Thai nomination. We here opt for the Pali name Vesakha.

In the countries of the Theravada tradition, on a full moon day in the month May (sometimes there are two in May) Vesakha Puja (in short also Vesak or Wesak)  celebrated as a national holiday and as the most important Buddhist festival.

Since a Buddhist convention of 1950 the celebration is often referred to as the  ‘Birthday of the Buddha’, but the ceremonies of that day comemorate beside the birthday also the enlightenment (Pali: Nibbana) and the passing away (Pali: Parinibbana) of the Buddha.

Below a wall painting in the  vihaan of Wat Dhammapateep (of artist Renaat Savels) where upon the three events are illustrated.


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