Vesāk poya is the full moon day in the lunar month of Vesāk (in May). Vesāk is the beginning of the Buddhist calendar. It commemorates the triple anniversary of the birth of The Buddha, the attainment of ‘Supreme Enlightenment’ at the age of thirty five, and after a successful ministry of forty five years his Parinibbana (or death) also on a Vesāk poya day. It was also on a Vesāk poya day, in the eighth year of his enlightenment, that The Buddha made his third and final visit to Sri Lanka.

There are twelve or thirteen poya days per year. Their names correspond to the Buddhist lunar months of the same name. They are VesākPosonEsalaNikiniBinaraVapIllUnduvapDuruthuNavamMedin and Bak.

If a month has two full moon days, the name of the second one is preceded by Adhi (meaning extra in Sinhala) as in Adhi Vesāk poya, etc.


Pali, Sanskrit, Sinhalese