Vesak or Vesakha Day is a holiday observed traditionally by Buddhists, and it is a national holiday in Indonesia. Known as ‘Waisak’ in Indonesia or ‘Hanamatsuri’ in Japan, the exact date of Vesak varies according to the various lunar calendars. In the Western Gregorian calendar, it usually falls in April or May. This year, Vesak will be on Sunday, May 6, 2012, carrying the spirit of self-contemplation and living in harmony as a theme.

Vesak celebrates three important events revolving around Gautama Buddha: his birth, his Enlightenment at age 35, and his passing away. On this day, devout Buddhists usually assemble in various Buddhist temples to do a ritual. In Indonesia, the national celebration is centralized in Borobudur Temple, Magelang, Central Java. The ritual comprises collecting water from a holy spring, lighting a torch with fire from the eternal flame of Mrapen mountain; ‘Pindapatta’, food donation for Buddhist monks; and meditation under the full moon.

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