Wesak Day

Wesak also spelled Vesak, is a day celebrated by Buddhists worldwide. The term Vesak derives from the name of a month in the Indian calendar. It is one of the public holidays in Malaysia.

When is the date for Wesak Day 2023?

Wesak Day in 2023 falls on Thursday, 4 May 2023.

When is the date for upcoming Wesak Day holiday?

202422 MayWedWesak DayNational
202512 MayMonWesak DayNational
202631 MaySunWesak DayNational
20261 JunMonWesak Day HolidayNational except Johor, Kedah, Kelantan & Terengganu

Which states in Malaysia observe Wesak Day as public holiday?

All states in Malaysia observe Wesak Day as a public holiday.

Wesak Day 2023 “negeri mana cuti”?

Wesak Day in 2023 falls on Thursday, 4th May and is observed as a public holiday on a national level in Malaysia. All states, or “negeri”, in Malaysia observed it.

Do the states of Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, and Terengganu recognize Wesak Day as a public holiday?

Yes, the states of Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, and Terengganu recognise Wesak Day as a public holiday.

However, if Wesak Day falls on a Monday, these states do not celebrate it as a public holiday because their weekend is Friday and Saturday. Therefore, they usually choose Sunday as the replacement holiday.

What’s the story of Wesak Day in Malaysia?

Buddhists in Malaysia honor Buddha’s birth, enlightenment, and passing on Wesak Day. Sometimes referred to as Buddha’s Birthday, Buddha Day, or Buddha Purnima, Wesak Day is celebrated on the Sunday closest to May’s full moon.

This holiday is one of the most significant festivals in the Buddhist calendar as it commemorates three crucial events in Gautama Buddha’s life – his birth, enlightenment, and passing.

The Wesak observance begins at dawn when Buddhists congregate in temples. They meditate on the precepts of Buddhism, which includes honoring life, showing generosity, embracing celibacy, using speech wisely, refraining from alcohol, and eating at prescribed times. The precepts also discourage listening to music, adorning one’s body, and excessive sleep.

Attendees at Wesak Day services also make donations and prayers. They offer flowers and candles that symbolize the transience of life, as flowers wither and candles burn. Monks chant Buddha’s teachings, and the Buddha flag is raised. Many temples distribute Buddha flags ahead of Wesak, which people hang in their homes.

Many Buddhists queue at the Malaysian Buddhist Association building to wash a statue of Buddha, believing this ritual purifies their souls. Visitors also light lotus-shaped candles and seek Buddha’s blessings. They recite prayers and conclude their celebration with a vegetarian meal.

The city of Kuala Lumpur in southwestern Malaysia culminates its Wesak Day celebration with a parade. This parade features decorated floats, including one usually carrying a large Buddha statue, and lasts for several hours. People walk alongside the floats, carrying flowers and candles.

Siddhartha Gautuma, a member of a royal family in Nepal around 500 B.C., started the Buddhist religion. Disturbed by the inevitability of illness, old age, and death, Gautuma embarked on a quest to understand life’s meaning. Neither fasting nor indulgence led him to enlightenment, but a simple meal offered by a young woman did. This realization became known as enlightenment, and Gautuma became recognized as Buddha, the Enlightened One.

While Wesak Day celebrations may vary across countries, it is universally a vibrant and joyous event. It is considered a public holiday in many Southeast Asian countries, including Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand.

Previous Wesak Day dates in Malaysia

20234 MayThuWesak DayNational
202215 MaySunWesak DayNational
202216 MayMonWesak Day HolidayNational except Johor, Kedah, Kelantan & Terengganu
202126 MayWedWesak DayNational
20207 MayThuWesak DayNational
201919 MaySunWesak DayNational
201920 MayMonWesak Day HolidayNational except Johor, Kedah, Kelantan & Terengganu
201829 MayTueWesak DayNational
201710 MayWedWesak DayNational

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