The Vesak festival, or Buddha Day, celebrates three major events in the life of the Buddha: his birth, Enlightenment and passing away on the full moon of the 6th lunar month (May). It is the most important festival in the Buddhist lunar calendar.
Buddhist festivals are a time for joy. The give Buddhists an opportunity to meet together, to take the Three Refuges and learn more about the Buddha's teachings. Families bring food, candles and flowers to the monks in the monasteries. In return, the monks chant the scriptures, lead a period of meditation and give teachings on the themes of the festival.
There is a party feel to the whole occasion. Houses and streets are cleaned and decorated with Buddhist flags and flowers. In villages, Buddhists gather around statues of the Buddha when it is dark. They walk around the statue with candles till all is covered in light.