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Vesakh in Munich on the 2600th anniversary of the Buddha's enlightenment in May 2012
Vesakh procession in Indonesia

Vesakh ( Pali : Vesākha; Sanskr . : वैशाख, Vaiśākha; Hindi : बैसाख , Baisākh = 2nd month in the Hindu calendar ), Visak , Vesak or Wesak is the highest Buddhist holiday . Vesakh is celebrated in the form of a puja or with processions according to the lunisolar calendar on the full moon day of the fourth month (according to the solar calendar usually between late April and early June).

The Vesakh festival ( Visakha Puja ) commemorates the birth, enlightenment ( Nirwana ) and the complete extinction ( Parinirvana ) of Buddha Siddhartha Gautama and thus his exit from the cycle of rebirth ( samsara ).

The festival originally comes from the tradition of Theravada Buddhism and is celebrated today by Buddhists all over the world as the most important common holiday. It also serves the conscious search for similarities and common roots of the different Buddhist traditions all over the world. Especially in the Theravada countries of Southeast Asia , Vesakh is celebrated as the biggest festival of the year. In addition to the usual full moon fasting and puja ceremonies, it is often also a custom to release animals - especially birds previously captured for this - in order to express one's efforts to work for the benefit of all beings. The International Buddhist Flag , as a symbol of global Buddhist unity, is often hoisted on this holiday .

In Germany the Buddhists of the different schools are united under the roof of the German Buddhist Union , which organizes yearly public celebrations on Vesakh, for example in Munich in the Westpark . In Vienna they take place at the Peace Stupa on Handelskai on the Danube.

In recognition of the Buddhist contribution to world culture, Vesakh was also recognized by the UN General Assembly in 1999 as an “international holiday ”.


The Vesakh Festival takes place on the first full moon of May as an international holiday recognized by the United Nations.

The next dates for Germany are according to the Gregorian calendar :

  • May 26th 2021, the dates for the different groups and clubs may vary.

According to their tradition, individual Buddhist communities also celebrate the Vesakh festival on dates that can deviate from this by a few weeks. This is the case, for example, with Buddhists who use the Thai or Chinese lunisolar calendar .

Individual evidence

  1. Iris Eggenhofer: Vesakh 2012 , announcement for the event in Munich 2012 on the DBU website, May 4, 2012, accessed March 18, 2014.
  2. a b A / RES / 54/115: International recognition of the Day of Vesak at United Nations Headquarters and other United Nations offices (PDF; 12 kB)

Web links

Commons : Vesak  - collection of images, videos and audio files