27 Sep Vesak Celebration in Indonesia
Although the majority of Indonesia’s population is Muslim, festivities of other religions are still celebrated based on tolerance. The diversity of religion renders a more dynamic life for the society. One of the festivities that is celebrated annually with high spirits is Vesak Day for Buddhists. The word Vesak itself originates from the Pali language “Vesakha” or in Sanskrit “Vaisakha”. The name “Vesakha” was taken from the Buddhist calendar which usually falls on May in the international calendar.
Vesak Day is celebrated in Mei during the sidhi full moon to commemorate 3 important events: the birth of Siddharta in 623 BC, the great enlightenment of Prince Siddharta in becoming Buddha in 588 BC and the death of Buddha Gautama in 543 BC. The three events are then called the Vesak Trinity.
Vesak celebration in Indonesia is centralized in the Borobudur Temple complex in Magelang, Central Java. Its series of events starts out by getting the blessed water from the Umbul Jumprit water spring in Temanggung district and the lighting torches by using the fire from the eternal fire source of Mrapen located in Grobogan district.
Then, they continue with the Pindapatta ritual in which people give money and food to the monks so that they have a chance to perform good deeds. At night at 10 pm WIB, 5,000 lanterns were let go from Borobudur’s Gunadharma location. The event continued on with the procession of Pradaksina and meditation prior to the final moments of Vesak at night towards morning on Sunday, May 22, 2016.
The peak of the event which many people have been waiting for is the release of lanterns at night. The essence of this event is the prayers made by the people for their own, their families and their country. Before releasing them, the people would do the Pradaksina ritual. Pradaksina is the ritual of people to walk around the Borobudur Temple 3 times. After that, they pray to the Almighty for blessings in their lives. At the end, lanterns are released.