Buddha Jayanti is the celebration and remembrance of Lord Budhha, and his principles and morals of life. Devotees from different parts of the country visit the major stupas early in the morning to worship and make prayers, while buddhist communities celebrate in their own neighborhoods, and monasteries as well. Lights and butter lamps decorate the religious sites as rice coins, and flowers are offered along with prayers. Heritage sites like Boudhanath and Swayambhunath receive a huge mass of devotees during the day.
Many processions and programs also take place in Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha. Devotees decorate the Maya Devi temple very beautifully with colorful lights and the statue of Gautam Buddha is placed in a chariot for a procession. The procession also consists of live music along with singing and dancing. The devotees recite various prayers, whereas monks deliver speeches about Buddhism and its importance in human life. Animals are set free for symbolizing that Buddhism cares for all creatures. Donations to individuals and organizations are made in the forms of cash, meals or any other items with the main aim of helping them.
Lord Buddha’s story begins with Siddhartha Gautama’s birth in Lumbini, Nepal, in about 567 BCE. Siddhartha was the son of a king. But when he was twenty-nine years old, his life changed. In carriage rides outside his palace he first saw a sick person, then an old man, then a corpse. This shook him to the core of his being as he realized that his privileged status would not protect him from sickness, old age, and death.
When he saw a spiritual seeker — a mendicant “holy man” ― the urge to seek peace of mind arose in him. The prince then renounced his worldly life and began a spiritual quest. He sought teachers and put his body through punishing ascetic practices such as extreme, prolonged fasts. Through many years of practicing mental discipline, Siddhartha Gautama achieved enlightenment, and thus the title “Buddha”, which means “one who is awake.” Upon his own enlightenment, Buddha spent the rest of his life teaching people how to realize enlightenment for themselves. His teachings thus founded the original order of Buddhist nuns and monks, that have today branched off into various sects of Buddhism and is practiced all over the world.