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Birth anniversary of Gautama Buddha
Buddha Purnima falls during Vaishakha month and is the birth anniversary of Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism. The time of Gautama Buddha’s birth and death is uncertain. However, most historians date his lifetime between 563-483 B.C. This year it falls on May 21.
Buddha Purnima is one of the largest Buddhist holidays in India. This major public holiday is celebrated widely in the major population centres of India. Although less than one percent of the Indian population identifies as Buddhist, Buddha Purnima is a holiday that attracts people from across the globe.
This festival honours the birth, enlightenment, and death of Siddhartha Gautama, or Lord Buddha. In addition to India, Buddha Purnima is celebrated in various parts of East and Southeast Asia. One of the most common ways to celebrate Buddha Purnima is to gather at a place of worship before the sun rises. This ceremony is observed with various prayers and dances.
In some areas, marches and physical exercises are performed. This is a way of showing gratitude for health and the simple things in life. Some people also participate in hymns. After the sun rises on Buddha Purnima, the Buddhist flag is hoisted at temples and other sites of religious importance. The modern Buddhist flag originated in Sri Lanka.
Its primary colours are blue, red, white, orange, and yellow. Blue represents compassion and respect for all living things. Red is a symbol of the blessings of practice. Bodh Gaya, Gangtok and Sarnath are best places to see Buddha Purnima celebrations in India.