There are many special or holy days held throughout the year by the Buddhist community. Many of these days celebrate the birthdays of Bodhisattvas in the Mahayana tradition or other significant dates in the Buddhist calendar. The most significant celebration happens every May on the night of the full moon (Vesak Poya), when Buddhist all over the world celebrate the birth of the Buddha, his enlightenment and his passing away into Nirvana over 2,500 years ago.
Vesak devotional songs (Bakthi Gee), sil campaigns, Bodhi Poojas, Dansalas, Pandals, lanterns, greeting cards and stamps are some of the things that we see every year at the time of this Buddhist festival.
Many Vesak lanterns are displayed at houses, which are very attractive and beautify the nights. There is a long-standing tradition in Sri Lanka of sending greeting cards on this joyous occasion. People share their happiness among relatives and friends by exchanging Vesak cards.
It is customary to engage in charitable activities on this day. In keeping with this custom, a blood donation campaign was organised at IIT premises. The event was successfully completed with more than 50 donors participating. On a subsequent Vesak celebration IIT students organised a Bana Sermon by the venerable Gavaragiriye Somarathana Thera and an Ice cream dansala at IIT premises.
Students and some staff representatives have also visited the Maharagama Cancer Hospital. After spending some time with the patients, a donation of Rs.180,000/= worth of skin curtains was made to the hospital.