Happy Wesak Day!
Wesak Day is the most important festivals of the Buddhists in Malaysia and fall in the month of May. In Malaysia, 2012 Wesak (Vesak) Day will be celebrated on Saturday, 5 May 2012.
Vesak is celebrated to commemorate the birth, enlightenment and death of Lord Buddha because according to Buddhists, all the three events took place on the same lunar date.
The Wesak day celebrations begins much before the dawn when the Malaysian Buddhist devotees gather in Buddhist temples for worship all over Malaysia. The Buddhists will then hoist the Buddhist flag and sing hymns in praise of the holy triple gem namely; The Buddha, The Dharma (his teachings) and The Sangha (his disciples). The celebration is done with prayers, chants, offerings and giving alms. Simple offerings are also brought to the temple such as flowers while prayers using candles and joss-sticks are used.
The Buddhist eat a vegetarian diet prior to the festival in order to cleanse and purify themselves. Animals such as doves and tortoises are released by the Malaysian Buddhist devotees on the Wesak Day as a symbolic gesture of releasing the soul and giving up the past sins. Besides that, this particular act is also seen as a way of giving freedom for those that are held against their will or being tortured. Free meals are also given to the needy on the Wesak Day.