Buddha Purnima Festival in Bangladesh
According to the Buddhist religion, Buddha was incarnated as Santos Kumar. After fulfilling his life in this form, he was living in paradise until he was approached by the gods and asked if he would agree to be reborn as a human so that he could roam the earth and not only lead the gods on the road to paradise, but to also save humans, showing them the way. He agreed, and was placed into the womb of his mother, after which he was born on Baisakhi purnima, in 623 BC. His birth, day of enlightenment and his death are therefore celebrated by Buddhists during the Buddha Purnima festival.
When Buddha turned twenty-nine years of age he left home and traveled, ending up in Urubela, or Buddhagaya, in Gaya, where he meditated for six years. On the full moon of Baisahki purnima, enlightenment came to him, after which he spent forty-five years in India, spreading the word of his enlightenment. At the age of eighty, on the peaceful Hiranyavati banks, Buddha passed away, also on Baisakhi purnima.
Buddha Purnima is celebrated in Nepal, Sri Lanka, Vietman, Burma, Bangladesh and numerous other Buddhist communities in various countries. The communities follow the Buddhist calendar and the festival therefore always falls on the full moon, which is usually on the fifth or sixth lunar month. Buddha Purnima is a public holiday in these countries, and followers are expected to gather at their temples, where the Buddhist flag is raised and hymns are sung. Followers also bring offerings of candles and flowers. Killing livestock is prohibited during the festival, encouraging followers to engage in a vegetarian diet for Buddha Purnima. Even slaughter houses are closed for the duration of the festival.
Buddhists celebrating Buddha Purnima are also encouraged to assist others, such as the sick, the elderly and disabled, often distributing gifts or money to the less fortunate. It is a day that promotes peace, love and the kindness shown by Buddha himself. By displaying harmony, peace and love towards others, followers are paying tribute to Buddha and his teachings.