Today the 2555th Buddha Jayanti is celebrated in Buddhist communities throughout the world. It marks the date of Lord Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and death, which all fell on the same date. Lord Buddha was born as prince Siddhartha to a royal couple of Shakya dynasty in Lumbini on the full moon day of May in 623 BC. He reached enlightenment after many years of meditation on the same date and died after eighty years on the same date.
For the commemoration of Buddha Jayanti monasteries are cleaned, statues polished and bright prayer flags waving in the breeze several days in advance. The monks prepare to dance and on the festive day, people go to visit the stupas before dawn to do their kora and give offerings.
A quiet monastery in Kathmandu is one of the centres of worship on this special day. Devotees go there in large numbers to get a glimpse of three teeth of Lord Buddha that were gifted to Nepal. On this special day the relics are taken out of the reliquary, where they are kept for the rest of the year for the faithful to see. Located just a kilometer north of Swayambhunath, the monastery still remains relatively unknown to tourists and pilgrims.
Even though Lord Buddha was born in Nepal the country did not possess any relics apart from some robes reported to have been worn by the prince, before they received the teeth from Sri Lanka.
Buddha Jayanti is a national holiday in Nepal and all meat shops are closed as a tribute to the man who preached non-violence.