On 15 May 2022, Buddhists will celebrate the anniversary of the Buddha’s Enlightenment over 2,600 years ago on the full-moon of the Wesak month, commonly referred to as ‘Wesak Day’. This marks the beginning of the Buddhist Era (B.E.) 2566, calculated from the time of the passing away of the Buddha in 543 BCE. This would make it one of humanity’s oldest religious celebrations, with historical evidence to show that it was first celebrated in Sri Lanka during the reign of King Dutugemunu in 1st century BCE .
Do you know, however, that Wesak was first celebrated in Malaysia by the Singhalese community in Penang, in the last decade of the 18th century? It became a gazetted Public Holiday 60 years ago on 3 January 1962, due to the efforts of our forefathers who saw how this holy observance united Buddhists. With their foresight, we are able to spend this day spiritually to honour the Buddha and reflect on His profound Teachings.
Read more about how the Wesak Holiday came about in Malaysia, in this newly published article by Achariya S. Vijaya Samarawickrama by clicking this link. May you have a meaningful celebration of Wesak Day.