Buddha Purnima 2013 is on 25th May, Saturday. Buddha Purnima 2014 falls on 14th May, Wednesday and Buddha Purnima 2015 falls on 4th May, Monday.
Buddha Purnima or Buddha Poornima is also as popular as Vesak or Buddha Jayanti. Buddha Purnima is celebrated to commemorate the birth anniversary of Lord Buddha, the founder of Buddhism. It falls in the month of Vaisakha, which according to the English calendar falls either in April or in May. It remembers three important events in the life of Lord Buddha, his birth, enlightenment and his attainment of Nirvana. The day witnesses the flow of pilgrims from all over the world and it is enriched with prayer meets, religious discourses, reading of Buddhist scriptures, sermons on the life of Gautam Buddha, group meditation, processions, and worship of the statue of Buddha. The Mahabodhi Temple is in the peak of celebration during this day and it is decorated with colourful flags and flowers.
Buddha Purnima festival is an occasion for rejoice. However, it does not allow the uncontrollable merrymaking like other festivals. Instead it is remembered in tranquillity and peaceful joy. The Buddhist villages, streets and roads all over the world are decorated and illuminated with electric lights and colourful lanterns. The Buddha Jayanti or Buddha Birthday popularly known as Buddha Poornima is also celebrated by sending greetings and SMS. The main celebrations are undertaken under the Bodhi tree at Buddha Gaya or Bodh Gaya. However, as per the information, it is actively celebrated among the followers of Buddha in countries such as Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand, Tibet, China, Korea, Laos, Vietnam, Mongolia, Bhutan, Cambodia, Nepal, Japan and among some western Buddhist followers. The festival is also celebrated in a grand way in Sarnath, the capital of Buddhism.
[caption id="attachment_1742" align="alignright" width="400" caption="Buddha poornima or Buddha birthday celebrations"][/caption]
Lord Buddha has been considered to be the ninth avatar or incarnation of Vishnu. The word Buddha in itself means the “enlightened one” and his teachings have always been focussed on liberating human souls from suffering and misery. Buddha had travelled far and wide spreading his teachings and after his death his disciples have carried forward the tradition. The Buddhists, in order to pay their respect to this great teacher, wear white robes during the Buddha Jayanti and eat vegetarian food. People also donate food, clothing, money and other necessary items to the poor and the needy. They visit the Buddha Temples and pour water on the statue of Buddha as a mark of respect.
The Dharma Chakra or the Wheel of Dharma is considered as a symbol of Vesak. This chakra consists of eight spokes that represent the eight-fold path of Buddha’s teaching. In the years that see two full moons in the month of May, followers may celebrate Buddha Jayanti on different dates. Lord Buddha passed away at the age of eighty after finishing his Sahasra Chandra Darshana, which actually means viewing or experiencing full moon days a thousand times. The full moon day of the month of Vaishakha is very special as it is the day of Lord Buddha’s birth, the day when He attained enlightenment. Lord Buddha is still looked upon as the champion of peace on Earth and as the supreme spiritual redeemer.