Vesak Day In Indonesia – Beautiful Observance Under The Brightest Moon

Like any other countries Indonesia not only has beautiful natural tourism object but also religious object. Five religions and one cult are granted by the government of Indonesia, they are Islam, Christian, Catholic, Hindu, Buddha, and Khonghucu. Religions give a great impact to people and their culture, for example Bali, in Bali you could see how much Hindu doctrines applied in the life of its people. This application could be seen all over the island when Balinese undergoes Nyepi Day. What about Buddha? Indonesia has Borobudur temple, it’s a giant 9th century Buddhist monument which was influenced by India’s architecture and it’s located in Magelang, Central Java, Indonesia. Once in a year Buddhists observe a holy day named Vesak Day. Vesak Day is a holy day where all Buddhists around the world observance the birth of Buddha. The observance of Vesak Day in Indonesia is always concentrated in Borobudur temple every year.

Photo by Andika F Putri

Vesak Day falls in the first full moon around May, the exact day is when the brightest moon appears (Here’s a link to check when the next Vesak Day observed in Borobudur temple). Several rituals are done before the big day, like Pindapata, ritual of taking water from Umbul Jumprit to be brought to Mendut temple, and the ritual of taking eternal flame from Mrapen to be brought to Mendut temple. Precisely there will be six rituals in the big day of Vesak, they are the moment of Vesak 10:34:49 (2012), Parade procession from Mendut temple to Borobudur Temple, Ritual in each assembly hood, Ritual in the main stage of Borobudur yard, Pradaksina, and the ignition of thousand lanterns of Vesak.

The Moment of Vesak

All the Vesak Dav observance ceremonies are started from Mendut temple and finished in Borobudur temple. The moment of Vesak is started when the Bhikkhu Wongsin Labhiko Mahathera beats the drum three times. This drum beating is a sign to start a meditation at Vesak moment at the yard of Mendut temple. Huge white tents were built around the temple and one of them was built in the west yard of the temple where a shiny golden stage with a Buddha statue placed. At the end of the ritual the Bhikkhu leaders will bring a golden cup filled up with holy water. They’ll walk around their people and splash them with the holy water.

Parade Procession from Mendut Temple to Borobudur Temple

The parade starts from Mendut temple and ends in Borobudur temple. The parade usually starts at 00.30 p.m. There will be 19 rows among the parade which will be paraded along the road from Mendut temple to Borobudur temple.

Ritual in Each Assembly Hoods

Ritual in the Main Stage of Borobudur Temple Yard

Usually the ritual starts at 6.30 a.m. at the yard of Borobudur temple. There will be praying session, meditation, singing Buddhist songs, and Namaskara. The Bhikkhu leaders sit in the main stage while their people sit in the provided space in front of the stage. Thousands people follow the whole session until they move to the temple to do the Pradaksina.


Pradaksina ritual is done by circling the Borbobudur temple three times clockwise. The Bhikkhu and Bhikkhuni will lead the ritual. They’ll carry out candles while walking around the temple. Some visitors usually attracted to join the band to do Pradaksina.

The Ignition of Thousand Lanterns of Vesak

After the Pradaksina procession is done, Buddhists and attendance are moving from the temple toward the yard. From the main stage the Buddhist leaders lead their people to ignite the distributed lanterns. There will be thousands of it ignited. Lantern is a symbol of light of life that leads Buddhists to wealthy, healthy, and happiness. One by one the Vesak lanterns will fly over the Borobudur temple under the light of the beautiful full moon. All of the people stare at the flying lanterns that bring hope and pray. Some of them cry, some of them are filled with joy, some of them are relieved, and most of them are stunned with the view. Sacred moment. Beautiful moment. Vesak Day in Indonesia.

Vesak Day in Indonesia is once a year event that is held in the biggest Buddhist monument in Indonesia. There will be lots of thing you could see and learn from this religious event. However Vesak Day is a holy day for some people, it takes great responsibility to see how they do their worship without interruption. But still you have to place this event on your vacation plan to Indonesia. It’s a great thing to do at May in Indonesia.

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