Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Confusions over Wesak Day

A statue of Lord Buddha at Mt Sorak, South Korea.
3rd of May or 1st June 2015 is Wesak Day? Why are we having different Wesak Day celebration compared to Singapore and Thailand which will be celebrating Wesak Day on 1st June? 3rd of May is the 15th day of the third lunar month while 1st June is the 15th day of the fourth lunar month, Wesak Day is on 15th day of fourth lunar month, something is wrong? Is it because of the lunar leap month in 2014, thus it is celebrated a month earlier? Who is the best person to ask for clarification? As a Buddhist, which one should we observe?

Those were the questions that dominates most of my discussions with colleagues and friends yesterday after finding out of the differences in the celebration date between Malaysia and Singapore.It was later extended to my discussions with friends who are Buddhists as well as a few phone calls to journalist friends and a Buddhist Association today, for I fear I am missing out the news as I have been away from Malaysia. The answers that I have been receiving only adds to my confusion. They are mentally challenging as well. To make the story short, I was told to follow whichever that is the official version published in the calendar and when I protested that we should be observing Wesak Day on the actual day, I was told that it doesn’t matter which day as long as it is a full moon day and the sincerity in praying! Duh!

Not satisfied with the answer given, I went on to seek help from Google and Wikipedia. However, all I received was even more confusions. In Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea, it is on 25th May, which is the 8th day of the fourth lunar month. Nepal, the birthplace of Buddha is celebrating it on 1st June while India is on 4th May.

My philosophical mind just can’t help thinking, to honor it on the right date or it doesn’t matter as long as there is sincerity? 是有心就好,随缘或什么,我无法想通。

P/s: About 30 min after finishing this article, I received an email from my journalist friend with regards to the difference in the date of Wesak Day in Malaysia and Singapore is due to the lunar leap month in 2014. There were two lunar ninth month last year.


  1. The Wesak Day has been agreed during the World Buddhist convention meeting to be held on the 15th day (Chinese fullmoon day) during the month of May.
    Therefore, this year the 15th day in May falls on 4 May 2015. Malaysia was one of the signatory, thus we celebrate Wesak n 4 May.

    Singapore was one of the signatory, but I really don't get it why Singapore decide to celebrate it on 1 June 2015 (which is 15th day of 4th lunar moth)

  2. Dear kmsum,

    I am not aware of why either but what about Sri Lanka and Thailand ?