Vesakh Festival 2023: This is what you should know about the most important Buddhist holiday
In spring there are very special holidays in the five world religions. Christianity has Easter, Islam has Ramadan, Judaism has Passover, Hinduism has Holi and Buddhism has it Vesakh festival.
About one percent of the population in Germany describes himself as Buddhists, That escaped a survey from 2018 – and the trend is rising. However, it is difficult to give an exact number because there is no official register like there is for the Christian churches – in Germany there is Buddhism not a legally recognized one Religion. Nevertheless, many people in Germany also practice Buddhism and celebrate it, among other things Vesakh festival. You can find out what this is all about here.
When is the Buddhist Vesakh Festival 2023?
The highest holiday in Buddhism will be vesakh, Called Visak, Vesak or Wesak – becomes the Vesahk festival Visakha Puja said. The day is based on the lunisolar calendar and is celebrated on the full moon of the fourth month. This is mostly between April and June in the western solar calendar. Some Buddhist communities follow the Thai or Chinese lunisolar calendar, so the dates of the festival may vary.
In 2023, this day stands out for many Buddhists Friday May 5th – on this day the full moon appears.
What is celebrated on Vesakh in Buddhism?
The Vesakh festival marks the birth and often the enlightenment and death of Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, celebrated. In Thailand For example, all three events are celebrated, in some other Buddhist countries only his birthday is celebrated. This day is used not only to honor the Buddha, but also to seek common ground among all the different Buddhist traditions.
Gautama Buddha was born under the name Gautama around the 6th century in Lumbini, present-day Nepal. At first he lived as an ascetic and dabbled in yogic philosophy. Shortly before he died of starvation, however, he broke away from asceticism and searched for it enlightenment experience. He found this under a fig tree while meditating. After his enlightenment, he began formulating a teaching and became the founder of Buddhism.
By the way: The term “Buddha” is an honorific and means “the awakened one”. That is, there is not only one Buddha, but besides Gautama there are also others who have attained nirvana and attained enlightenment. Siddharta Gautama is therefore often referred to as the “historical Buddha” to avoid confusion with other Buddhas.
What do Buddhists do on the Vesakh festival?
At the Vesakh festival the streets of Buddhist countries are colorfully decorated – mainly in orange and with colorful flowers. The flowers are often given as offerings, a sign that our human bodies too will eventually wither. How the individual Buddhists celebrate Vesakh can look very different. Most devout Buddhists go to their temple on this day and meditate there and go to a puja. The puja is a ritual and something like a devotion in Christianity – this is supported by offerings such as flowers, light, smoke and water.