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Images of Vesak

Observing Buddha's Birthday, Enlightenment, and Parinirvana

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Vesak is the most sacred holy day of Theravada Buddhism. Also called Visakha Puja, Wesak, or Buddha Day, Vesak is an observation of the birth, enlightenment and death (parinirvana) of the historical Buddha. Mahayana Buddhists tend to separate these three events of the Buddha's life into three separate holidays. But the date of Vesak -- a full moon day that usually falls in May -- is also a common day for Mahayana Buddhists to celebrate Buddha's birthday.

The images in this gallery show the many ways Vesak is observed. It is a time for meditation and solemnity, but it's also a time for parades and parties.

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Monks Indonesia MeditateVesak in IndonesiaVisakha Puja, ThailandVesak in ThailandBuddha's Birthday Parade, South KoreaBuddha's Birthday in South KoreaDragons on ParadeBuddha's Birthday in South Korea
Vesak in IndonesiaVesak in IndonesiaBuddha's Birthday in ChinaBuddha's Birthday in ChinaBuddha's Birthday in Lumbini, NepalBuddha's Birthday in NepalBuddha's Birthday, New York CityVesak in the West
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