Buddha’s Birthday is a holiday traditionally celebrated in most of East Asia to commemorate the birth of the Prince Siddhartha Gautama, later the Gautama Buddha and founder of Buddhism. It is also celebrated in South and Southeast Asia as Vesak which also acknowledges the enlightenment and death of the Buddha. According to the Theravada Tripitaka scriptures (from Pali, meaning “three baskets”), Gautama was born in Lumbini in modern-day Nepal, in the year 563 B.C., according to the Nepalese Account, and raised in Kapilavastu. At the age of thirty five, he attained enlightenment (nirvana) underneath a Bodhi tree at Bodhgaya (modern day India). He delivered his first sermon at Sarnath, India. At the age of eighty, He died at Kushinagar, India.
The exact date of Buddha’s Birthday is based on the Asian lunisolar calendars.
The date for the celebration of Buddha’s Birthday varies from year to
year in the Western Gregorian calendar, but usually falls in April or
May. In leap years it may be celebrated in June.
The exact date of Buddha’s Birthday is based on the Asian lunisolar calendars and is primarily celebrated in Baisakh month of the Buddhist calendar and the Bikram Sambat Hindu calendar, and hence it is also called Vesak. In modern-day India and Nepal, where the Historical Buddha lived, it is celebrated on the full moon day of the Vaisakha
month of the Buddhist calendar. In Theravada countries following the
Buddhist calendar, it falls on a full moon Uposatha day, typically in
the 5th or 6th lunar month. In China and Korea, it is celebrated on the
eighth day of the fourth month in the Chinese lunar calendar. The date
varies from year to year in the Western Gregorian calendar, but usually
falls in April or May. In leap years it may be celebrated in June. In
Tibet, it falls on the 7th day of the fourth month of the Tibetan
calendar (in May).
In South Asian and Southeast Asian countries as well as Mongolia, Buddha’s birthday is celebrated on the full moon day of the Vaisakha month of the Buddhist calendar and the Hindu calendar,
which usually falls in April or May month of the Western Gregorian
calendar. The festival is known as Buddha Purnima, as Purnima means full
moon day in Sanskrit. It is also called is Buddha Jayanti, with Jayanti
meaning birthday in Sanskrit Language.
The corresponding Western Gregorian calendar dates varies from year to year:
In many East Asian countries Buddha’s Birth is celebrated on the 8th day of the 4th month in the Chinese lunar calendar (in Japan since 1873 on April 8 of the Gregorian calendar), and the day is an official holiday in Hong Kong, Macau and South Korea. The date falls from the end of April to the end of May in the Gregorian calendar.
The primarily solar Gregorian calendar date varies from year to year:
In 1999 the Taiwanese government set Buddha’s birthday as the second Sunday of May, the same date as Mother’s Day.Japan
As a result of the Meiji Restoration,
Japan adopted the Gregorian calendar in lieu of the Chinese lunar
calendar in 1873. However, it took approximately until 1945, the end of World War II,
for religious festivities to adopt the new calendar. In most Japanese
temples, Buddha’s birth is now celebrated on the Gregorian calendar date
April 8; only a few (mainly in Okinawa) celebrate it on the orthodox
Chinese calendar date of the eighth day of the fourth lunar month.
Bangladesh the event is called বুদ্ধ পূর্ণিমা or Buddho Purnima. On the
day of proceeding Purnima Buddhist monks and priests decorate temple in
colourful decorations and candles. On the day of the festival the
President and Prime Minister deliver speeches about the history and
importance of Buddhism and religious harmony in the country. From noon
onwards large fairs are held in and around temples and viharas
selling bangles, food (largely vegetarian), clothes, toys and
conducting performances of Buddha’s life, Buddhist music teaching about
the Dharma and the 5 precepts. Later on Buddhists attend a congression
inside the monastery where the chief monk would deliver a speech
discussing the Buddha and the 3 jewels and about living the ideal life
after which a prayer to the buddha would be conducted and people would
then light candles and recite the three jewels and 5 precepts.
In Cambodia, Buddha’s Birthday is celebrated as Visak Bochea and is a public holiday
where monks around the country carry flags, lotus flowers, incense and
candles to acknowledge Vesak. People also take part in alms giving to
In China, celebrations often occur in Buddhist temples where people light incense and bring food offerings for the monks. In Hong Kong, Buddha’s birthday is a public holiday.
Lanterns are lit to symbolise the Buddha’s enlightenment and many
people visit the temple to pay their respects. The bathing of the Buddha
is a major feature of Buddha’s birthday celebrations in the city. The festival is also a public holiday in Macau.
is the land where the Buddha attained enlightenment (nirvana) at
Bodhgaya and established Buddhism. Buddha spent majority of his life in
what is now modern day India. Some of the holiest sites associated with
Buddha’s life include Bodhgaya (place of enlightenment), Sarnath (site of first sermon), Sravasti and Rajgir (site where Buddha spent the greater part of his monastic life and delivered majority of his discourses), and Kushinagar (site where Buddha attained Parinirvana and passed away) Under Emperor Ashoka, Buddhism spread from India to other nations. Buddha Purnima or Buddha Jayanthi in South India or Tathagata is a public holiday in India.The public holiday for Buddha purnima in India was initiated by Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar when he was the minister of social justice  It is celebrated especially in Sikkim, Ladakh, Arunachal Pradesh, Bodh Gaya, various parts of North Bengal such as Kalimpong, Darjeeling, and Kurseong, and Maharashtra (where 73% of total Indian Buddhists live) and other parts of India as per Indian calendar. Buddhists go to common Viharas to observe a rather longer-than-usual, full-length Buddhist sutra, akin to a service. The dress code is pure white. Non-vegetarian food is normally avoided. Kheer,
a sweet rice porridge is commonly served to recall the story of Sujata,
a maiden who, in Gautama Buddha’s life, offered the Buddha a bowl of
Informally called “Buddha’s Birthday”, it actually commemorates the
birth, enlightenment (nirvāna), and death (Parinirvāna) of Gautama
Buddha in the Theravada tradition. Tibetans in exile remember Buddha’s
birthday on the 7th day of the Saga Dawa month (fourth month of the
Tibetan calendar), which culminates with Buddha’s parinirvana
celebrations on the full moon day.
It is said that the Buddha originally followed the way of asceticism
to attain enlightenment sooner, as was thought by many at that time. He
sat for a prolonged time with inadequate food and water, which caused
his body to shrivel so as to be indistinguishable from the bark of the
tree that he was sitting under. Seeing the weak Siddhartha Gautama, a
woman named Sujata placed a bowl of “Kheer” in front of him as an
offering. Realizing that without food one can do
nothing, the Buddha refrained from harming his own body. Thereafter, he
would go on to attain nirvana.
Buddhist caves exist in following places in Goa:
idols have been found in several places, and some temples, some are
still in worship and are considered now as Hindu gods. Monasteries used
to exist in many places, and it can be seen from the names of the modern
villages. For example, Viharas have been found in modern Divachali or ancient Dipakavishaya, Lamgaon or ancient Lamagrama and many other places.
Sensō-ji (Temple complex)
A pagoda is a tiered tower with multiple eaves, built in traditions originating as stupa in historic South Asia and further developed in East Asia or with respect to those traditions, common to Nepal, China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Myanmar, India, Sri Lanka and other parts of Asia. Some pagodas are used as Taoist houses of worship. Most pagodas were built to have a religious function, most commonly Buddhist, and were often located in or near viharas. In some countries, the term may refer to other religious structures. In Vietnam and Cambodia, due to French translation, the English term pagoda is a more generic term referring to a place of worship,
although pagoda is not an accurate word to describe a Buddhist vihara.
The modern pagoda is an evolution of the stupa which originated in ancient India. Stupas are a tomb-like structure where sacred relics could be kept safe and venerated.
The architectural structure of the stupa has spread across Asia, taking
on many diverse forms as details specific to different regions are
incorporated into the overall design.
One proposed etymology is from a South Chinese pronunciation of the term for an eight-cornered tower, Chinese: 八角塔, and reinforced by the name of a famous pagoda encountered by many early European visitors to China, the “Pázhōu tǎ” (Chinese: 琶洲塔), standing just south of Guangzhou at Whampoa Anchorage. Another proposed etymology is Persian butkada, from but, “idol” and kada, “temple, dwelling.”
Another etymology, found in many English language dictionaries, is modern English pagoda from Portuguese (via Dravidian), from Sanskrit bhagavati, feminine of bhagavat, “blessed”, from bhag, “good fortune”.
another etymology of pagoda is from the Sinhala word dāgaba which is
derived from Sanskrit dhātugarbha or Pali dhātugabbha: “relic
womb/chamber” or “reliquary shrine”, i.e. a stupa, by way of Portuguese.
The origin of the pagoda can be traced to the stupa (3rd century BCE). The stupa, a dome shaped monument, was used as a commemorative monument associated with storing sacred relics. In East Asia, the architecture of Chinese towers and Chinese pavilions
blended into pagoda architecture, eventually also spreading to
Southeast Asia. The pagoda’s original purpose was to house relics and
sacred writings. This purpose was popularized due to the efforts of Buddhist missionaries, pilgrims, rulers, and ordinary devotees to seek out, distribute, and extol Buddhist relics.
On the other side, the stupa emerged as a distinctive style of Newa architecture of Nepal and was adopted in Southeast and East Asia. Nepali architect Araniko visited China and shared his skills to build stupa buildings in China.
These buildings (pagoda, stupa) became prominent as Buddhist monuments used for enshrining sacred relics.Symbolism
Chinese iconography is noticeable in Chinese pagoda as well as other East Asian pagoda architectures. The image of Gautama Buddha in the abhaya mudrā is also noticeable in some Pagodas. Buddhist iconography can be observed throughout the pagoda symbolism.
In an article on Buddhist elements in Han dynasty art, Wu Hung suggests that in these tombs, Buddhist symbolism was so well-incorporated into native Chinese traditions that a unique system of symbolism had been developed.Architecture
Pagodas attract lightning strikes because of their height. Many pagodas have a decorated finial
at the top of the structure, and when made of metal, this finial,
sometimes referred to as a “demon-arrester”, can function as a lightning
rod. Also Pagodas come in many different sizes, as some may be small
and others may be large.
Tiered towers with multiple eaves:
Stupas called “pagodas”:
Places called “pagoda” but which are not tiered structures with multiple eaves:
Structures that evoke pagoda architecture:
Structures not generally thought of as pagodas, but which have some pagoda-like characteristics:
Five-story pagoda of Mount Haguro, Japan
Wooden three-story pagoda of Ichijō-ji in Japan, built in 1171
The nine-story Xumi Pagoda, Hebei, China, built in 636
The Bombardier Pagoda at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway
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The China Pavilion is a Chinese-themed pavilion that is part of the World Showcase within Epcot at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, United States. Its location is between the Norwegian and German pavilions.
Visitors enter the China Pavilion through a large Chinese gate. The courtyard is dominated by a replica of the Temple of Heaven, which contains the entrance to “Reflections of China“,
a Circle-Vision 360° movie exploring China’s history and scenery, as
well as a museum containing several ancient Chinese artifacts. The
courtyard is bordered by shops selling Chinese merchandise, and two
Chinese restaurants. The pavilion is decorated with ponds, crossed by bridges. Chinese acrobats also perform frequently in the pavilion.
Attractions and servicesAttractions
Character Meet & Greets
Pagoda with lions in the front
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