People in Theravada countries also celebrate the triple anniversary of Lord Buddha - his birth, his attaining of Enlightenment and his passing away into Nirvana all of which are said to have occurred on the first full moon of May. Also known as the Buddhist Festival of Light, colourful bamboo framed lanterns adorn the interior of every home and incredible luminous displays decorate the streets of most towns.
Vesak is a commemorative occasion which calls for restraint and immersion in the true philosophy of Buddhism. And in this drawing away from mundane life and immersing oneself in the Dhamma or Teaching, is happiness that no material possession or sense-motivated activity can bring. One has to experience it through meditation to realise the depth and intensity of the joy that is there for the taking by the truly dedicated Buddhist.
As the sun sets, devotees partake in processions and return to the temples in the evening to hear monks read stories from sacred texts.