Vesak Day marks the birth, enlightenment and the passing (parinirvana) of Buddha. Over two thousand six hundred years ago Queen Mahamaya, wife of King Suddhodana of Sakya gave birth to Siddhartha at the Lumbini Sal Uyana. Thirty six years later Siddhartha Gautama attained enlightenment at Buddha Gaya under a Bodhi tree. At age 80 buddha passed away (parinirvana) at the Kusinara Sal grove. This themagula is celebrated on Vesak Day.
This is the perfect time to follow the buddha’s message of peach, compassion and love to work together for the common good and betterment of all living things. We are sure this time takes you back to Sri Lanka, where we get together with friends and family and make our own Vesak Kudu (lanterns). From cutting down the ‘Bata”(bamboo tree) to making “paappa” (paste made of flour) to pasting “sau kola”(tissue paper) and creating all those “Ata Pattan” and “Nelum Mal” kudu or those lavish giant Vesak Kudu with the patiyo (little lanterns) rotating around it, was a fun family affair. It is also the time to going to the temple and observing “Sil” or observing just the five precepts. Vesak night is definitely the time for the youngsters, lighting the vesak lanterns, and getting together with family and neighbors to go “See Vesak.” Seeing Vesak is an amazing experience, you would gather together with family & friends in a van or SUV and you would tour the city centers to see the magnificent pandolas (thoran) and multiple rotating lanterns. A quick stop at various “Dansal” at night was also another much missed experience.
It is definitely the time for unity and betterment of humankind. For us expatriates it is the time to go to temple with our families and show our youngsters what Vesak is all about.
We at Sri Lanka Foundation wish everyone a peaceful preethi Vesak.