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Buddha’s Birthday : 

Buddha’s Birthday

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Gautama Buddha was the founder of Buddhism His real name was Siddhartha (meaning one who has accomplished). According to Buddhist tradition, he was born in April 8, 1029 BC and died in February 15, 949 BC He was born in c. 563 BCE in Lumbini, Nepal. Buddha was the son of Shuddhodana, the king of the Shakyas, a small tribe whose kingdom was located in the foothills of the Himalayas, Nepal. Observances of the birthday vary from country to country. There is a legend that, at the time of his birth in Lumbini garden, the heavenly gods celebrated by creating a rain of amrta (heavenly nectar). Today this is symbolized in some temples by pouring sweet tea over a statue of the infant Buddha.

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On the night Siddhartha was conceived, Queen Maya (Buddha's mother) dreamt that a white elephant with six white tusks entered her right side, and ten months later Siddhartha was born.

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As was the Shakya tradition, when his mother Queen Maya became pregnant, she left Kapilvastu for her father‘s kingdom to give birth. However, she gave birth on the way, at Lumbini, in a garden beneath a sal tree.

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During the birth celebrations, the hermit seer Asita journeyed from his mountain abode and announced that the child would either become a great king (chakravarti) or a great holy man.

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Siddhartha, said to have been destined to a luxurious life as a prince, had three palaces (for seasonal occupation) especially built for him. His father, King Suddhodana, wishing for Siddhartha to be a great king, shielded his son from religious teachings or knowledge of human suffering

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According to legend, an astrologer foretold his father, the king, that young Gautama would give up the throne and luxury and renounce the world the day he would see four things : An old man, A sick man, A diseased man and A dead man. Hence, the king confined Gautama in a special palace which was provided with all worldly pleasures. He was married at the age of sixteen to Yasoddhra.

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At the age of 29 after the birth of his first son, Gautama on the same day saw an old man, a sick man, a diseased man and a dead man.

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The impact of the dark side of life made him renounce the world that same night . Siddhartha escaped his palace, aboard his horse Kanthaka, leaving behind this royal life to become a mendicant. This event is traditionally called "The Great Departure.”

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At the age of 35, one evening as he sat beneath a giant tree (Bodh tree), he felt that he had found the solution to his problem and felt that he had attained enlightenment. Thus, he came to be known as “Gautama”, “The Buddha”, or “The Enlightened One”.

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Later, he spent 45 years in preaching the truth that he felt he had discovered. He travelled from city to city bare-footed, clean-headed, with nothing more on his self than his saffron robe, walking stick and begging bowl.

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The birthday of the prince Siddhartha Gautama traditionally celebrated in East Asia on the eighth day of the fourth month in the Chinese Lunar Calendar, is an official holiday in Hong Kong, Macau, and South Korea. The date varies from year to year in the Western (Gregorian) calendar.

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India Birth of Buddha is celebrated in India as per Indian calendar Buddhist People go to common Viharas to observe a rather longer- than-usual, full-length Buddhist sutra, as something like a service. The usual dress 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 milk porridge.

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Nepal The birth of the Buddha is often celebrated by Buddhists in Nepal for an entire month in the Buddhist calendar. The actual day is called Buddha Purnima (or Buddha Purnima), also traditionally known as Vaishakh Purnima.

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The event is celebrated by gentle and serene fervour, keeping in mind the very nature of Buddhism. People, especially women, go to common Viharas to observe a rather longer-than-usual, full-length Buddhist sutra, as something like a service. The usual dress 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 milk porridge after he had given up the path of asceticism following six years of extreme austerity. This event was one major link in his enlightenment.

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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 girl named Sujata placed a bowl of milk in front of him as an offering. Realizing that without food one can do nothing, the Buddha refrained from harming his own body.

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Japan In Japan, Buddha's Birthday is also celebrated according to the Buddhist calendar but is not a national holiday. The first event was held at Asuka-dera in 606. Japanese people pour ama-cha (a beverage prepared from a variety of hydrangea) on small Buddha statues decorated with flowers, as if bathing a newborn baby.

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Korea In Korea the birthday of Buddha is celebrated a (Seokga tansinil), meaning “The day of Buddha's birthday according to the Lunisolar Calendar”. This day is called Lotus lanterns cover the entire temple throughout the month which are often flooded down the street. On the day of Buddha's birth, many temples provide free meals and tea to all visitors. The breakfast and lunch provided are often sanchae bibimbap.

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Sri Lanka This is one of the major festivals in Sri Lanka. It is celebrated on the first full moon day of the month of May. People engage in religious observances and decorate houses and streets with candles and specially made lanterns.

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Other countries Some places have a public holiday one week later, on the fifteenth day of the fourth month in the Chinese Lunar Calendar, to coincide with the full moon. For instance, Visakha Puja in Thailand or Lễ Phật đản in Vietnam was such a holiday on May 12 in 2006. Other countries including Singapore and Malaysia also celebrate Vesak Day on the fifteenth day of the fourth month in the Chinese Lunar Calendar, a public holiday in these two countries.

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