Wesak Day

Wesak Day 2019

To Buddhists, Wesak Day or also known as Buddha Day is more than just a national holiday for its believers. Three important events are celebrated, which are the birth, the enlightenment (nirvana) and the death (Parinirvana) of Siddhartha Gautama Buddha, and the festival has been held for years as a tradition.

Date Day Holiday States
19 May Sunday Wesak Day National
20 May Monday Wesak Day Holiday National except Johor, Kedah, Kelantan & Terengganu

Things to Know About Wesak Day

Approximately in 500 BC, Siddhartha Gautama Buddha became the founder of Buddhism, which happened when he was pondering on the meaning of life and had decided to travel to another country to find the answers. Gautama studied yoga and fasted under several teachers for a long time in hopes to get some knowledge about both life and death, yet he realised these practices did not seem to help.

After meeting a lady who brought him food while he was sitting alone under a tree, Gautama then realised after eating the food that neither fasting nor worldly self-indulgence would help him to find what life is all about. This realisation is then known as the enlightenment of Gautama, where he is also widely called as the Enlightened One.

Since then, Wesak Day has been celebrated in various countries around the world in appreciation of Gautama’s experience, especially in Southeast Asia countries such as Cambodia, Singapore, Thailand and Sri Lanka. In Malaysia, the Wesak Day celebration begins at dawn when Buddhist devotees and believers gather at various Buddhist temples across the states to meditate on the Eight Precepts by raising the Buddhist flag and praising the holy triple gem. The holy triple gem mainly includes The Buddha, The Dharma (his teachings), and The Sangha (his disciples).

In observing the Eight Precepts, the devotees will need to refrain themselves from any immoral and certain basic life activities, which among them include stealing, practising bad speech, sexual activities, indulge in a luxurious sleeping place and many others. Apart from observing these precepts, Wesak Day celebration also involves the act of ‘showering’ the Buddha as a symbol of purification, abstinence from meat, meditation as well as charity.

Wesak Day Food

Buddhist followers and devotees will only be served with vegetarian food and drinks at the temple during Wesak Day. There isn't any specific food that is to be eaten or not eaten on Wesak Day celebration except that the Buddhist’s believers should not consume any meat for the day. This is also in observation of the precept of abstaining oneself from killing.

Wesak Day Traditions

For Wesak Day 2019, expect to see many temples across the states in Malaysia to hold special welfare activities and services, such as feeding the homeless, collecting money for donations, and many more acts of kindness. On the day of the festival, Buddhist monks in bright colour robes will chant the sutras (a Buddhist scripture) all at once and doves are set free as a sign of benevolence.

Devotees and followers of the religion will also take part in prayers as well as offering flowers and candles on Wesak Day celebration. Flowers and candles on Wesak Day are among the essentials items to be included for the festival to remind the believers that everything in this world is temporary, and life is subject to decay and destruction. Just like the flowers that wither and the candles that will be burned away by the fire.

Places to Visit

If travellers are touring Malaysia during Wesak Day 2019 and want to experience the real ambience of the celebration, here are a few places for them to visit:

Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur

Brickfields is situated in the capital city of Malaysia is a highly recommended place to be explored by travellers who want to experience exciting and happy Wesak Day’s moments in 2019. The famous Buddhist Maha Vihara Temple that comfortably located just outside the city centre offers a parade session on the streets for the visitors to take part in conjunction to Wesak Day celebration. Starting as early as 7:00 PM, the parade will make its way to various areas in Kuala Lumpur, which mainly include Jalan Raja Chulan, Jalan Sultan Ismail and Jalan Bukit Bintang.

Kuantan, Pahang

Travellers should visit Kuantan city in the state of Pahang to get the most joyful experience during Wesak Day 2019, especially for those who like to see beautiful architectures of Wan Fo Tien Buddhist Temple. This 5.5 meters high Buddha statue sits at the altar and thousands of magnificent tiles covering the walls with Buddhist details, the temple is worth visiting. On Wesak Day, the temple would conduct special ceremonies and a lot of chanting by the Buddist’s monks will take place during the celebration.

Kuching, Sarawak

If you are into ancient buildings and sites, travelling to Kuching in Sarawak would be the best idea during Wesak Day 2019. Here, travellers can visit one of the oldest temples in Malaysia that are popularly known as Poh Ka Buddhist Temple. During Wesak Day, travellers would be able to participate in the special events and activities offered at the temple. Among these activities include prayers, donations and offerings.

Travelling Tips for Wesak Day

Thousands of people will be travelling back to their hometowns and get on a trip to their favourite destinations during Wesak Day public holiday. This means that all major transportation hubs including railway stations, airports, ferry and bus stations will be crowded with local and international travellers. Heavy congestion is expected to take place on roads as the festive season is the best time for most Malaysians to drive across the country with their family and friends.

If travellers want to enjoy an efficient journey for Wesak Day 2019, it is advised to follow some travelling tips before departing. Travellers should especially book their flights, bus, ferry or train’s tickets as early as possible before the official day of the celebration to avoid any issues. For those who are driving back to their hometown for Wesak Day celebration, they should make use of the GPS navigation app to avoid heavy traffic.

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* Only 0.01% trips slightly higher than counter price. ** Only applicable for transactions without the use of discount code and trips offered by certain companies. *** For certain trips only, discount already reflected in the ticket price itself (i.e. lower price than bus counters). * Bus pictures are for reference only. * Trip durations are estimated time only.