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International Day of Vesak or Buddha Purnima 2024 – May 23

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Vesak Day or Buddha Purnima - May 23 2024The United Nations (UN) International Day of Vesak, (also known as Buddha Purnima or Buddha Jayanti in India) is annually observed across the globe on the Day of the Full Moon in May. It is the most sacred day for millions of Buddhists globally.

In 2024, the International Vesak Day, or Buddha Purnima was observed on 23 May 2024.

  • In 2023, the Day was observed on 5 May 2023;
  • In 2025, the Day will be observed on 12 May 2025

This Day acknowledges the birth of Prince Siddharta Gautama, who later became known as the Buddha and founded Buddhism.

Buddha Purnima 2024 marks the 2586th birth anniversary of Gautam Buddha.

  • Vesak is commemorated annually at UN Headquarters and other UN offices, in consultation with relevant UN offices and permanent missions.

Historical Significance:

i.It was on the Day of Vesak two and a half millennia ago:

  • Siddharta Gautama, (Buddha) was born in 623 B.C.
  • Buddha attained enlightenment.
  • Buddha passed away at the age of 80.

ii.This Day marks the contribution of Buddhism, one of the oldest religions in the world, and its significant spiritual contributions.


i.On 15 December 1999, the UN General Assembly (UNGA) adopted the resolution A/RES/54/115, recognising the Day of Vesak, the Day of the Full Moon in May each year.

  • The resolution was co-sponsored by countries including Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Chile, Cyprus, Grenada, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, etc.

ii.The first-ever UN-recognized International Day of Vesak Day was observed in 2000.

  • The 2024 event marked the 25th anniversary of the UNGA resolution, which internationally recognised Vesak Day.

Note: The observance witnesses the participation of Member States and Buddhist monks representing both Theravada and Mahayana traditions and other high-level dignitaries of the UN.

About Gautama Buddha:

i.Siddhartha Gautama, the Lord Buddha, was born in the famous gardens of Lumbini (now in the Rupandehi District of Nepal).

ii.He left home at 29, attained ‘awakening’ at 35, and died 45 years later at 80.

iii.Bodh Gaya (Bihar) is the place where Gautama Buddha attained unsurpassed, supreme Enlightenment.

iv.He gave his first sermon (Dharma) on the outskirts of Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh) at a deer park called Sarnath.

Note: The teachings of the Buddha emphasise compassion, peace, and goodwill.

2024 Events:

On May 20, 2024, the Permanent Missions of Sri Lanka and Thailand co-hosted an event at the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Chamber of the UN Headquarters, in New York, United States of America (USA).