Buddha Purnima Celebrations Around the World

What is Buddha Purnima?

It is the most important and the most sacred day of the year for the followers of Buddhism. It celebrates the birthday of Lord Buddha. Buddha Purnima 2021 will be celebrated in India on the 26th of May. This year will mark the 2583rd anniversary of his birth in Nepal's Lumbini.

Buddha Purnima Celebrations Around the World

Buddha was born as Siddhartha Gautama in a royal family but decided to pursue his quest for enlightenment through meditation after seeing mass suffering in the world around him. At the age of 29, he left his elaborate palace to be one with the public. Lord Buddha started his meditation under a fig tree in Bodhgaya and is believed to have been alive until 80.

Today, his principles and teachings have spread to places far and beyond the perimeters of India, gathering followers all around the world. Here's how the world celebrates Gautam Buddha Purnima:


The biggest celebrations in the world probably happen in India. A lot of people from the Hindu religion believe Buddha to be the ninth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The celebrations happen with great enthusiasm, with people indulging in prayers, recitation of Buddhist scriptures and meditation sessions. People also worship Buddha statues. The Mahabodhi temple in Bodhgaya is decorated with lights, flowers and flags. In Sarnath, a procession is carried out with Buddha's relics, and in Delhi, the National Museum brings out the mortal remains of the deity for people to come and see.


With Buddhism being the third largest religion in the country, Bangladesh also has quite a few Buddhist followers. The largest celebrations take place at Mohabihar Buddhist monastery with the chanting of verses from the sacred scriptures of the Tripitaka. Newspapers and national TV channels run important information and programmes related to Buddha Purnima.


A small town in Nepal called Lumbini is where Buddha is believed to have been born. In Nepal, Buddhists and Hindus celebrate this festival with much enthusiasm. They flood either to his birthplace - Lumbini (also known as Kapilvastu); the place where he spent the first 29 years - Devdaha, or to the Buddhist Monastries in Kathmandu. Celebratory ceremonies usually start in the mornings and go on till dusk.

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka celebrates Buddha's birthday as 'Vesak'. It is one of the important festivals of the year. Chanting of religious hymns and celebratory music runs in the air everywhere. Followers wear white, visit temples and light oil lamps in the morning, and buy paper lanterns and light them in front of their houses in the evening. Streets are full of people relishing in the festivities of the evening with several stores set up and food stalls called 'dansälas' provide free food to people passing by. On this day, the whole island country comes together to celebrate by prohibiting the sale of alcohol and fresh meat