Jaja, a temple elephant in Sri Lanka, had been celebrating the Buddhist New Year the day before yesterday, and got sick as an…elephant!
Around about this time of year Buddhist celebrate the Birth and Enlightenment of the Buddha, termed Wesak. In our Order we tend to go with some time in May for our celebrations. In 1950 at the first Conference of the World Fellowship of Buddhists (W.F.B.), held in Sri Lanka, they resolved that Wesak be celebrated on the full-moon day of the month of May and urged Heads of governments to grant a public holiday for Wesak. In the Gregorian calendar Wesak fall on May 5th this year.
In the end I guess it doesn’t matter which date we choose to celebrate on, enough that we respectfully and joyfully honour the Buddha. Food making and offering, as well as eating, has a big place in this celebration and not only for elephants!
I notice that Walter posted a poem to mark Wesak, on April 8th. Nice poem too. When I was traveling in East Asia last year I consistently managed to arrive one day after the celebrations. Here in Edmonton all of the Buddhist groups come together on May 6th, we will be there.