Buddha’s Birthday

The anniversary of the birth of Siddhartha Gautama is a major Buddhist celebration, although the date of observance differs in the various traditions. For the Theravada tradition, Visakha (or Vesak) usually falls in May and celebrates simultaneously three great events—the birth, enlightenment, and parinirvana (bodily death and final liberation) of Siddhartha Gautama. In the Japanese tradition of the Buddhist Churches of America, the Buddha’s birthday is observed on April 8, a day called Hanmatsuri. For all Buddhists, the Buddha’s birthday is an opportunity to visit the temple, think deeply about the meaning of Buddhahood, and once again commit oneself to Buddhist ideals.