Buddha Purnima festival is celebrated to mark the birth of Lord Buddha. Buddha Purnima or Buddha Jayanti is celebrated with traditional religious fervor. Buddha Purnima falls on the full moon day in the Hindu month of Vaisakh (April/May). Lord Buddha was born on the Full Moon day in the month of Vaisakh in 563 BC. Here, it is interesting to note that Buddha achieved enlightenment and nirvana (salvation) on the same day (the Full Moon day). Thus, Buddha Purnima also marks the death anniversary of Gautam Buddha. Sarnath holds an important place in Buddhism as Gautam Buddha gave his first sermon at Sarnath. On the occasion of Buddha Jayanti, a large fair is held at Sarnath and the relics of the Buddha are taken out for public display in a procession.
Besides Sarnath, the Buddha Purnima is also celebrated with religious fervor at Gaya and Kushinagar and other parts of India and the world. The Buddha Purnima celebrations at Sarnath attract large Buddhist crowds as Buddhists offer prayers in different Buddhist temples at Sarnath on this day. Prayers, sermons, recitation of Buddhist scriptures are other important religious activities performed by the Buddhists at Sarnath. Monks and devotees meditate and worship the statue of Gautam Buddha. The Buddhist devotees also offer fruits, flowers, candles etc to statues of Lord Buddha.
He attained Supreme Enlighten or Buddha hood, beneath the Bodhi-tree at Boddha Gaya. Forty-five years later at the age of eighty, he finally passed away in Parinivana on the same day of the year at Kushinagar. Vaisaka Purnima is celebrated especially in Boddha Gaya, Lumbini and in Kushinara as they are the holy places that were connected with the blessed ones birth, enlighten and the Parinirvana. Buddhists in Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand, Tibet, China, Korea, Laos, Vietnam, Mongolia, Bhutan, Cambodia, Nepal, Japan and quite a number of western Buddhists participate 'Vaisaka' Purnima Day religious activities in a festive mood. Sarnath the capital of Buddhism too celebrates Vaisaka Purnima day in a grand way.
The great Buddhist festival 'Vaisaka' ,although is an occasion for rejoicing doesn't encourage hectic gaiety and abandon. The happiness that the Buddhists feel when they are celebrating it is a tranquil, peaceful joy. The festival has its gay side as well. In most of the Buddhist countries the villages, roads, streets, temples and houses are brightly illuminated with color Lanterns, electric lights and colorful decorations.