There are many festivals that Nepalese love to celebrate, some by Hindus, some by Christians some by Buddhists and others by different ethnic population. And then there is Buddha Jayanti, Lord Buddha’s birthday. On this very day it is said that Buddha was born, Enlightenment and Mahaparinirvana (Death). Buddha Jayanti is not only celebrated by Buddhist only but also by Hindus as well in Nepal so this is one the festival which keeps the node of religious harmony tight across this small Himalayan country.
This day is believed to be on the day of "Vaishakha Poornima”, full moon day in 623 BC. Maya Devi, the Queen of Shakya King Suddhodhana of Kapilvastu, gave birth to Prince Siddhartha while passing through the Garden. It is well documented that Prince Siddhartha (known as the Buddha) was born at Lumbini in Kapilvastu district of Nepal.
The newly-born Prince is believed to have taken seven steps and uttered a timeless message to all humanity. It is believed that this happened in the beautiful Sal grove, which is now the focal point of the Lumbini Garden area.
Lumbini - the birthplace, Tilaurakot or Kapilvastu - where Buddha spent his first 29 years, Devdaha - his maternal home, and other sacred places and monasteries all over Kathmandu and Nepal, are crowded with devotees on the day of Buddha Jayanti.
In Kathmandu valley, Buddhists of all persuasions as well as pilgrims from abroad, honor the Buddha at the two great stupas Swyambhunath, Boudhanath and the largely Buddhist city of Patan. Activities at the main Buddhist stupas and shrines begin at dawn and continue till late in the evening.
In Nepal, Buddha’s birthday — is an official public holiday. People gather at their temples to hear speeches by monks and are expected to chant prayers and donate or offer food, flowers, and candles, which are meant to symbolize the finite nature of material life. Temples hold celebrations as locals decorate their houses and the streets are filled with candles and lanterns. The Buddhist flag is raised above temples and paraded in the streets by monks. Monks also hold parades carrying lotus flowers, candles, and incense, stick.
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