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06/09/2011

The glorious festival of Vesak

May 17th and 18th were holidays called Vesak. Vesak is said to be the birthday of Buddha (the founder of Buddism), and also the day of his spiritual enlightment and death. This year, counting 2,600 years from Buddha’s enlightment, festivals were held on an especially large scale.

Two kinds of memorial coins will be issued for this anniversary. The 10 rupee coin will be issued publicly in June, while the 1,000 rupee coin will be sold for 7,500 rupees each, and only 2,000 pieces will be issued.

By the way, preparation of this festival starts from about 10 days in advance. I saw people decorating lanterns, and Buddhist monks in the back of small trucks, going around the town and gathering offerings from the people.

During the two days of Vesak, there are food and drinks given out in the town - ice cream, black tea, and sometimes even whole meals! Many people were waiting in a long line. There were also contests for original lantern designs. Together with such festival mood, I also noticed its solemn side as a Buddhist ceremony. People of all ages, dressed in white robes, kept lining up to visit the temples.

June 9, 2011 in Sri Lanka |