How to Celebrate Buddha in Sri Lanka? Stop Partying, Some Say

Source: The New York Times


COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — It was time to reclaim the holiday. To put the Buddha back into Vesak, so to speak.

But as Sri Lankans prepared to celebrate Vesak, the holiday this week commemorating the Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and death, the government shook a stern finger. The celebrations had become too indulgent, a directive warned.

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The commemoration should be a time for prayer and meditation, not fun and games, the minister of Buddha Sasana, a government department dedicated to Buddhism, had declared in March. The minister banned the pandols, large illustrations depicting the Buddha’s life in bright paint and neon lights, which cost hundreds of dollars and take hours to build for the holiday, only to be thrown out after the celebrations.

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