Exploring Vesak Day: A deep dive into the Buddhist celebration

21 Apr 2024
5 mins read
Written by Riona lye

Ever heard of Vesak Day? It’s an important occasion revered by Buddhists worldwide. Vesak Day. Join us as we delve into the historical roots of this sacred day, figure out why the dates change all the time, and dive headfirst into all the rich celebratory traditions that make this day so special.


So, get ready to join us on this journey and experience Vesak Day like never before!

What is Vesak Day?

Wondering what Vesak Day is all about? Well, it’s named after the word Vaisakha, the month in the Hindu and Buddhist calendars when Buddha is said to have been born. It’s a huge deal for Buddhists in South Asia, Southeast Asia, Tibet, and Mongolia – think of it as the Super Bowl of Buddhist celebrations.


For many, it’s a celebration of Buddha’s birthday, while for others, it’s a recognition of the momentous occasion when he attained enlightenment and comprehended the meaning of life. Plus, it’s a time to reflect on Buddha’s teachings and what it really means to embrace the Buddhist way.


And hey, not every country calls it Vesak Day; you might also know of it as Buddha Jayanti, Buddha Purnima, or Buddha Day – they’re all in on the same festivities.

When is Vesak Day 2024?

The thing is the date of Vesak switches up every year because it happens on the first full moon of the ancient lunar month of Vesakha. Usually, that lands in May or early June.


Anyway, let’s talk about Vesak Day 2024. Here are the dates for different countries in Asia.


22nd May:


  • Cambodia
  • Malaysia
  • Myanmar
  • Singapore
  • Thailand


23rd May:


  • Bangladesh
  • Bhutan
  • China
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Laos
  • Nepal

Why is Vesak Day celebrated on different days?

Alright, check it out: you know how our regular calendar follows the sun? Well, these other old-school calendars are a bit different. They’re all about the sun and the moon. Vesak Day is one of those days that moves around because it’s based on the moon calendar.

How do they celebrate Vesak Day?

Ever wonder how is Vesak Day celebrated?


Well, picture this: folks show up at temples with offerings like flowers, candles, and joss sticks. The deal with these? They burn down, and the flowers wither, serving as a reminder that life is fleeting and things don’t last forever.


But that’s not all – the rest of the day is like a kindness marathon. Devotees stick to veggie meals, organise mass blood donations, visit the elderly, hand out cash to those in need, set birds and animals free as a symbol of liberation, and maybe throw in some mantra-chanting for good measure. It’s a whole day of good vibes and meaningful actions.

How to celebrate Vesak Day abroad?

Hey, celebrating Vesak Day abroad can really add some meaning to your experience, even if you’re far from home. Here are a few ways you can get into the spirit of Vesak while you’re living abroad:

Check out a local Buddhist temple

You’d be surprised how many cities worldwide have Buddhist temples where they celebrate Vesak Day. Since it’s such a big deal, you can usually join in on the temple activities like meditation, chanting, and giving alms. It’s a great way to feel connected to the Vesak vibe.

Do some charity work

Vesak Day is all about giving back and showing compassion. So why not volunteer at a local charity or join a community service project? It’s a nice way to spread some of that Vesak generosity around.

Host a Vesak Day get-together

Bring your friends and fellow Buddhists together for a Vesak Day celebration. You can have a potluck dinner, but remember, some Buddhists stick to being strictly vegetarian on this special day.

Take some time for self-reflection

Use Vesak Day as a chance to think about your life and your spirituality. Spend some quiet time meditating, reflecting on Buddha’s teachings, and setting intentions to be more compassionate and kind in your everyday life.

Stay connected to your culture

Even if you’re far from home, you can still participate in Vesak Day ceremonies by watching live streams or virtual services online. It’s a great way to stay connected to your cultural heritage and feel a part of the celebrations.

Consider the impact of animal release

While releasing animals is a common practice for some Buddhists on Vesak Day, it’s important to be aware of local laws and environmental concerns. In some places, it may not be acceptable due to the harm it can cause to ecosystems.

Go vegetarian for the day

Keeping things simple, you can choose to go vegetarian on Vesak Day. Whether you cook at home or dine out at a vegetarian restaurant, just remember to make reservations ahead of time since places can get pretty busy.

Before you go…

Keep the Vesak Day celebrations going strong by sending some love to your family and friends!


Whether it’s pitching in for temple donations, helping out with expenses, or just spreading some joy, sending money is a sweet way to show you care.


And with handy online platforms like Instarem, you can zap funds over securely and super fast, no matter how far apart you are.


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Make this Vesak Day extra special by staying connected and sharing the love through a thoughtful gesture that echoes the spirit of generosity and kindness at the heart of the celebration.


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Frequently asked questions

Is Vesak Day a public holiday in Singapore?

Yes, Vesak Day is a public holiday in Singapore and in 2024 it falls on 22nd May.

Is Vesak Day a public holiday in Malaysia?

Yes, Vesak Day is a public holiday in Malaysia and in 2024 it falls on 22nd May.


Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only. All details are accurate at the time of publishing. Instarem has no affiliation or relationship with the products or vendors mentioned.

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