May - Wesak Festival

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The Vesak Festival is one of the most important events celebrated by Buddhists around the world. Being both a cultural and religious event in Sri Lanka, Vesak Day marks the birth, enlightenment and passing away of The Buddha – around 25 centuries ago. The day is celebrated on different dates amongst countries around the world and is based on the Asian lunisolar calendar, with Sri Lanka typically celebrating it in May – on a full moon Poya day. Buddhists flock to temples during Vesak to worship and make traditional observances, as part of religious practices. During the festival the roads also come to life with lights – bright lanterns are often hung outside every house and beautiful pandals (also known as thorana) can be seen on the streets, illustrating the life story of The Buddha. Food stalls are also commonly found on streets, distributing free food and drinks to the public.