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Buddha Purnima
Bangladesh

Buddha Purnima 2017 and 2018

The Buddha Purnima, also referred to as Boishakhi Purnima, is the largest religious festival in Bangladesh held by the Buddhist community. It is celebrated annually on the full moon day that lies in the first month of the Bangla Calendar.

YearDateDayHoliday
201710 May WedBuddha Purnima
201830 AprMonBuddha Purnima

Boishakh, which occurs in May according to the Gregorian calibration, marks the occurrence of three important events of the Blessed One’s life, including birth, his enlightenment, and his death.

History of the Buddha Purnima

According to historians, Santos Kumar is what Buddha was incarnated as. Once he fulfilled his life in this form, his time in paradise began. At this time the gods approached him and asked if he would agree to return to earth in human form so that he could help to save the human race by showing them the way. He agreed to this and was placed in his mother’s womb and then born in 623 BC. This is why his birth, his death, and even is the day of enlightenment are all celebrated by Buddhists on the Buddha Purnima day.

What Happens on Buddha Purnima?

During this full moon day, Buddhists all around the country commemorate it in several ways. Some of the most common activities include:

  • Flying the Buddhist and national flags at the tops of temples
  • Chanting the discourses of the Tipitaka
  • The people hold sermons discussing the life of Buddha and recite meaningful scriptures
  • Group meditation events

There are quite a few Buddhist organisations that also work together to organise colourful processions all along the roads in several cities including Chittagong and Dhaka.

Private Celebrations of Buddha Purnima

In addition to the public events, many Buddhists spend the day with their family, relatives, and friends to exchange greetings and solidarity. In the morning hours, devotees often travel to the temple, where they offer puja, candles, incense, flowers, and spend time worshipping the Buddha. On this day, many Buddhists also provide charity to others in the community. They spend time helping the elderly and sick people in the country by paying for their medical needs and even distribute clothes and fruit to those who are disadvantaged.

Recognition of the Public Holiday

Buddha Purnima is considered a public holiday in Bangladesh. This means that people from all religions, including Christians, Muslims, and others, are invited to join in the celebration. Many of these individuals also go to the Buddhist temples and take part in the discussions and processions, which marks the religious harmony between people from all different faiths.

Even political leaders recognise the day by sending special messages and greetings to the Buddhist community. The Prime Minister and President of Bangladesh, as well as opposition party leaders typically send individual messages to Buddhists, in addition to the countrymen, on Purnima’s eve.

This is an important day in the Buddhist community and greeted with excitement. While many offices and businesses remain open on this day, those in the Buddhist community typically take off work to observe the holiday. This means on the day of the celebration there are often some locations that are inaccessible.