Key Buddhist date now a UN international day

BANGKOK: United Nations member countries have reached agreement that Buddhism’s Visakha Bucha Day will henceforth be recognized by those countries as an official UN “international day”. It marks the first time that the world body has established such a day based on religion. The announcement was made yesterday by the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the World Fellowship of Buddhists. UN international days are not global holidays; rather, they exist to celebrate and/or heighten awareness of seminal events and worthy causes. Examples include Children’s Day, Quit Smoking Day, Earth Day and International Women’s Day. Visakha Bucha Day is the day on which the Buddha (Prince Siddhartha Gautama) was born, enlightened, and reached nirvana according to Buddhism. The Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the proposal to make Visakha Bucha Day a UN international day was initially submitted to the UN at a meeting in Sri Lanka in 1998. In December of last year, the proposal came under discussion again in New York. It was finally agreed in February of this year. Visakha Bucha Day occurs on the fullest-moon day in the sixth month of a year according to the Buddhist Lunar Calendar. This year, it will be on May 17.

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