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Buddha Purnima (also known as Buddha Jayanti) celebrates the birth of Prince Siddharta Gautama — a Nepali prince (circa 563-483 B.C.) who later went on to become known as the Buddha, the founder of Buddhism. The word ‘Purnima’ is Sanskrit for ‘full moon’, which explains why it is celebrated on a full moon day, and ‘Jayanti’ means ‘birthday’. The word Buddha is given to those who attain ‘bodhi’ or wisdom, hence the name was ascribed to Siddartha once he attained enlightenment. It is commonly celebrated during the month of ‘Vaisakhi’ in Hindu/Buddhist lunar calendars.

Buddha’s birth is celebrated as part of a festival called ‘Vesak,’ which combines the 3 key events of his life: his birth, enlightenment, and death.

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