Gautam Buddha is highly regarded as one of the greatest preachers that mankind has ever had. His teaching have transcended the political and geographical borders and reached the farthest corners of the globe. Buddhism as a basis of religion dates back to 543 BC, when Buddha was born.
Buddhism went on to become an admired religion in the following centuries as it crossed the borders of the Indian subcontinent.
Buddha Jayanti or Buddha Purnima, as it is largely called, is widely regarded the birth anniversary of the Gautam Buddha. In India, it is commonly celebrated during a full moon during the month of Vaisakha (i.e. April or May according to the Standard English calendar).
Buddha Jayanti is a significant event to Buddhists in India. One must remember that, this festival is considered to be one of the oldest among all the festivals celebrated in our country. Even to this day, this festival holds importance on the international level.
Buddhists believe that it was on Buddha Purnima that he attained spiritual enlightenment. He eventually attained complete spiritual attainment (or Nirvana) after preaching the five philosophies of life and the course of eight-fold truth to the people of the Indian subcontinent. In more simple terms, Gautam Buddha left the mortal world, in its entirety, on this day. Hence, Buddha Purnima is a celebration of the three most significant events of Gautam Buddha’s life, including his death.
In India, pilgrims and Buddhists from every corner of the modern world flock to Bodh Gaya to take part in Buddha Jayanti celebrations. The festival is celebrated with religious fervor, which is highlighted with large scale processions, elaborate prayers, meets, sermons and holy discourses, group meditations, recitation of Buddhist preaching, and worship of the statue of Gautam Buddha.
Besides this, a mega scale fair takes place at Sarnath, wherein the relics belonging to Lord Buddha are put on show for the common public. This fair is held her because it is widely believed that Sarnath is the place where Buddha gave is first sermon.
Other place in India where Buddha Jayanti is of particular importance is Kushinagar. The celebrations at these places draw in large scale crows from every part of the country and around the world. Monks and devotees of Lord Buddha can be seen meditating in large groups, to worship the statues of their beloved preacher on this auspicious day. These celebrations are associated with offerings such as flowers, fruits, candles, prayers in front of the statue of Buddha.