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What is Vesak?

Vesak is considered as one of the most important festivals in Buddhist tradition. It is a day to celebrate the Buddha’s birthday but it is also a time to mark the death and enlightment of the Buddha.

When is Vesak?

The date varies and is dependent on the country because it is usually celebrated on a full moon in the month of Vaisakha.  The next Vesak in the United Kingdom will take place on 1 June   2015.

What do people usually do during this festival?

Once again it varies from country to country.

Some Buddhists will put their flag up at their local temple just before dawn and will sing hymns.  Others prefer a private prayer in the comfort of their own homes.  You can also expect to see lanterns, dancing dragons and caged birds released as they mark this celebration.

The majority of Buddhists are vegetarian but during the period of Vesak, Buddhists are encouraged not to eat any meat or fish.

Key points to consider in the workplace

  • While breaks will remain the same, a shorter break could be offered if it makes it easier for them to manage their workload and take time off to attend services at their local temple
  • It is reasonable for employees to request additional time off.  Although there is no legal requirements to meet these needs an employer should be flexible and if planned ahead may be able to put alternative arrangements in place
  • Those employees wanting to carry out additional prayers should be given a private space in which to do so where they will not be disturbed where possible
  • Managers should increase their awareness of Vesak and post information on notice boards