Vesak is an annual public holiday observed traditionally by practicing Buddhists in South Asian and South East Asian countries like Nepal, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Indonesia, Pakistan and India. Sometimes informally called “Buddha’s birthday,” it actually encompasses the birth, enlightenment Nirvana, and passing (Parinirvana) of Gautama Buddha.
In Thailand, where majority of the population are Buddhists, each year, the nationwide festival of Vesak Day is held to pay tribute to the birth, enlightenment and death of Buddha. The Vesak Day will fall on Tuesday, May 17th 2011, however celebrations can be seen for more than a week.
In Chiangrai, people will congregate around the Buddhist temples to pray and give thanks to the deity on the Vesak Day. Monks dressed in their saffron robes will lead sermons and services throughout the day, with candlelit processions often taking place once night has fallen.