Buddha Purnima 2024 Date and Timings: Celebrating the Birth and Death of the Buddha

Buddha Purnima, celebrated with devotion and reverence, marks the birth, enlightenment, and death of Gautama Buddha.

The festival of Buddha Purnima, also known as Vesak or Buddha Jayanti, is among the most respected and joyous for every Buddhist around the world.

It declares the birth, enlightenment (nirvana), and departure from this world (parinirvana) of Gautama Buddha. It is a day truly sacred in respect and enthusiasm, reflecting on how the pious thoughts of Buddha greatly affected peace, compassion, and wisdom.

Historical and Cultural Context

Buddha Purnima is a religious event that is celebrated in many Asian countries as an integral part of history and cultural traditions. The festival holds special importance in many countries in Asia, particularly in India, where it blossomed from, and countries like Thailand, China, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Tibet. Every region has a different formula of customs and rituals that bring out their culture and form their local interpretations of Buddhist teachings.

The Origin of Buddha Purnima

Buddha Purnima has been celebrated by Buddhists since time immemorial. There is proof of this in the initial propagation of Buddhism. Prince Siddhartha Gautama, better known as Buddha, was born about 563 BCE, in the gardens of Lumbini, near the Indo-Nepalese border. Born a prince in Shakya’s royal family, Siddhartha led a very natural life. But his destiny had some incredible plans, and he was to become more acquainted with human misery, which stirred his spiritual consciousness. With a rigorous spiritual quest to unravel the ultimate truths of life, he renounced his princely life and commenced his voyage throughout the country in search of enlightenment.

After many years of austerity and meditation, Siddhartha attained enlightenment at the age of 35 under the Bodhi tree at Bodh Gaya, Bihar. He was now known as the Buddha or “Enlightened One” and started teaching the Dharma, the path of liberation, to his followers. His teachings are based on the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path as a guide to lead one through suffering towards spiritual enlightenment.

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Significance of Buddha Purnima

Buddha Purnima is very significant because this is considered the day of the three greatest events of Buddha’s life: his birth, enlightenment, and parinirvana. It falls on the full moon day of the Vaisakha month in the Buddhist calendar, which usually comes in the months of April and May according to the Gregorian calendar. Buddha Purnima this year lands on Thursday, 23rd May in 2024.

Buddha Purnima 2024: Date and Timings

Time Period of Purnima in 2024:

  • Purnima Tithi starts: 22 May 2024 at 6:47
  • Purnima Tithi ends: 23 May 2024 at 7:22

Time Peristyle for Bath and Charity:

  • Vaisakh Purnima 4:04 AM to 5:26 AM

Auspicious Time for Worshiping Lord Vishnu:

  • 23 May 2024: 10:35 to 12:18 A.M.

These times are considered particularly auspicious for performing religious activities such as bathing in holy rivers, making donations, and worshiping.

What to do on Buddha Purnima?

Rituals and Celebrations:

Buddha Purnima is a day marked with a range of rituals and celebrations characterized by spirituality. Devotees assemble in temples and monasteries to take part in chanting from the Holy Scriptures, and prayers and meditation sessions, which continue throughout the day. The day is usually begun with early morning processions and hoisting of the Buddhist flag.

Of all the religious practices central to Buddha Purnima, among them is the offering of food and alms to monks and the less fortunate. This act of generosity to the monks and the poor, known as dana, is central to the Buddhist practice and symbolizes the virtues of compassion and charity. In many places, Buddhists also release caged birds and animals as a mark of liberation and compassion.

Temples are adorned with flowers, lanterns, and incense that, despite their number, impart a very calm and yet festive look. Devotees light up candles and lamps as well, symbols of the light of wisdom that dispels darkness. In this light, another important ritual is the bathing statues of Buddha, symbolizing purification and restoration of faith.

Buddha Purnima Around the World

How people, across different cultures and countries celebrate Buddha Purnima varies a lot:

  • India: Especially in Bodh Gaya, Sarnath, and Kushinagar, major ceremonies and festivals are held in places where Gautama Buddha more or less spent important parts of his life, and congregations of devotees from all over the world assemble to pay homage and do religious activities.
  • Nepal: Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha, is celebrated with grandeur that is marked with processions, prayer meetings, and culture performances.
  • Sri Lanka: In Sri Lanka, it is called Vesak, and there are beautiful decorations along with lantern displays. Also, free food and drinks (Dansal) is supplied to the people.
  • Thailand: In this country, it is a public holiday. People go to the temple to make merit, meditate and listen to sermons.
  • Tibet: Tibetan Buddhists, particularly those in monasteries, celebrate through prayer ceremonies and rituals. But in some of the regions of Tibet, people also perform traditional dances and music.


In more exact terms, Buddha Purnima is not a festival but a day for introspection, renovation, and re-committal to the basic principles of human conduct that the Buddha had bequeathed to humanity. On this pious occasion, as millions of Buddhists across the length and breadth of this vast continent celebrate the life and teachings of the Buddha, they would like to not only pay their reverence to the Buddha but also try to live his teachings in their living, thereby establishing a sense of unity, harmony, and spiritual growth.

Let the day dawn—23 May 2024—on which Buddha Purnima is going to be observed—remind everyone from us of the timeless message of the Buddha: May we make the world a place where understanding and compassion triumph.

Inputs from Indian Express

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