Buddha Purnima being celebrated on May 18, also known as Buddha Day or Buddha Jayanti marks the birth anniversary of Gautam Buddha and is celebrated by Hindus and Buddhists both in the entire world. For the Buddhists, every full moon day is auspicious but the most important one is the full moon in May as all three major events of the life of Buddha took place on this day in different years. According to legends, Prince Siddhartha was born at Lumbini Grove on the full moon day in May. After that, he attained enlightenment under the shade of the Bodhi Tree and became Gautama Buddha on the full moon day of May as well.
Lastly, after years of teaching about truth, he passed away on the full moon day of May as an octogenarian. The day is mainly observed by Buddhists and some Hindus in Asian countries including India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Tibet, Bangladesh, and Bhutan and involves devotees listening to his teachings, remembering his compassion towards humanity and indulging in charity work. It is to be noted that in India, some schools of thought say Lord Buddha is the eighth reincarnation of Lord Vishnu. The day is celebrated with great zeal and much fervour. Another reason for the celebration is that it is believed that on this day only, Lord Buddha attained Nirvana or salvation.
On Vesak or Buddha Purnima, people don white attire and distribute kheer (porridge) as, according to legends, a woman named Sujata offered Gautam Buddha kheer on this day. Furthermore, in India, people visit Viharas where Buddhists observe a longer than usual Buddhist sutra, which is similar to a service.