Wesak is the most important of the Buddhist festivals and is celebrated on the full moon in May. It celebrates the Buddha’s birthday, and, for some Buddhists, also marks his enlightenment and death.
Wesak is celebrated with much colour and gaiety. Homes may be cleaned and decorated. In many countries during the festival, Buddhists will visit their local temple for services and teaching, and will give offerings to the monks of food, candles and flowers. Chanting and praying are an important part of Wesak.
The ‘Bathing the Buddha’ ceremony is also often included. Water is poured over the shoulders of the Buddha as a reminder to purify their own minds from greed, hatred and ignorance. Gifts are taken to an altar to be offered to the Buddha statues. This shows respect and gratitude to the Buddha for his life and teachings.