Vesak

Vesak, also known as Wesak, Buddha Day or Buddha Burmina, is the most important day in the Buddhist calendar.  Celebrated on the full moon in May, Vesak celebrates the birth of Buddha, as well as his enlightenment and death. It is widely celebrated in Asia and in many places is an official public holiday. Vesak will next be celebrated on 21st May.

Vesak Activities for Kids

How is Vesak Celebrated?

There are different ways of celebrating the holiday. Often the festivities begin with a good "spring clean" and homes are freshened up and decorated. In the morning, Buddhists visit their temples and give offerings to the monks of food, candles and flowers. There is chanting and praying, incense, music and colour. There may be exciting parades through the streets.

In some areas there will be a "Bathing the Buddha" ceremony, with water poured over a statue of Buddha. Special lanterns of paper and wood (sometimes homemade) are hung from houses and trees, along with electric lights and exciting light displays. Caged birds may be released, symbolising the releasing of sorrows. In China, there may be dragon dances.

Our Vesak Activities

Bean Mandala

Bean Mandala

This is a simple, original idea for a really lovely, satisfying mandala craft. Deciding on your design and pushing the beans into the clay can get children of all ages absorbed, and the finished artwork looks fabulous on display.

Bodhi Leaf Colouring Page

Bodhi Leaf Colouring Page

Colour in the bodhi leaf - perhaps in bright colours for Vesak. You could do a classroom full of them and then make a bodhi tree display...

Bodhi Leaf Template

Bodhi Leaf Template

At Vesak it is traditional to decorate bodhi leaves with colourful paint and hang them up on display. Many are painted with small pictures of Buddha, which is where the inspiration for our Buddha colouring page comes from.

Buddha Colouring Card

Buddha Colouring Card

This beautiful Buddha colouring card has lots of detail for children and adults alike to enjoy. What a lovely design to receive, too. The card works best when printed using your printer's borderless settings.

Buddha Colouring Page

Buddha Colouring Page

We hope that children will enjoy colouring in this serene meditating Buddha colouring page - perfect for your Buddhism studies or for Vesak or other Buddhist celebrations.

Buddha Colouring Page 2

Buddha Colouring Page 2

This gorgeous "mindfulness" colouring page shows Buddha sitting in from of a stylised leaf from the bodhi tree, and is an intricate design that older children and adults will enjoy colouring in.

Buddha Footprint Colouring Page

Buddha Footprint Colouring Page

There are thought to be over 3000 Buddha footprints all over Asia, carved into stone, rock or metal. The footprints are meant to symbolise Buddha's presence on earth and serve as a reminder that he left a spiritual path for his followers; they contain a variety of typical Buddhist images.

Buddha Frame

Buddha Frame

You can use this Buddha frame for writing activities, printing it out onto white paper or coloured as you prefer. It also makes a useful template and would look lovely with gold or silver paper.

Buddha Story Paper

Buddha Story Paper

Here's some useful story paper featuring a picture of Buddha. Use it for storing notes, writing projects and more.

Buddha Tracing Page

Buddha Tracing Page

Trace over the dotted lines to draw this lovely serene Buddha face. Younger children could use a thicker pencil or crayon and trace between the two dotted lines.

Buddha Under Bodhi Tree Colouring Page

Buddha Under Bodhi Tree Colouring Page

When Prince Siddhartha was 35 years old, he meditated under the Bodhi tree until he became enlightened. This lovely colouring page shows this part of the story of Buddha.

Chinese Lantern Craft

Chinese Lantern Craft

Every Chinese New Year ends with a beautiful display of lanterns at the Lantern Festival. Your children can make their own colourful Chinese lantern craft for your Chinese New Year display. This lantern can be adapted for all ages of kids.

Chinese Lantern Craft

Chinese Lantern Craft 2

This Chinese lantern craft is quick and easy to do, but a string of them hung across a room looks bright and pretty and perfect for a Chinese New Year or Lantern Festival display.

Cupcake Case Lotus Flower

Cupcake Case Lotus Flower

This is a very quick and easy way to make some pretty lotus flower decorations for Vesak - but of course you can adapt the shape of the petals to make an array of gorgeous flowers any time! This would be a lovely party craft, too.

Dharma Wheel Colouring Page

Dharma Wheel Colouring Page

The dharma wheel is one of the oldest symbols of Buddhism. It is a chariot wheel, often gold. At the centre you often see three swirling shapes (as in our dharma wheel colouring page below) or a yin-yang symbol.

Dharma Wheel Tracing Page

Dharma Wheel Tracing Page

Here's a challenging tracing activity for the kids with many dotted lines to practice their pencil control on. Alternatively, trace or colour in between the dotted lines.

Lotus Flower Bowl

Lotus Flower Bowl

This clay modelling craft uses a kitchen bowl as a base to create a lovely lotus flower bowl. It would make a super trinket bowl, and a perfect gift for the kids to give to friends or family - perhaps for Mother's Day?

Lotus Flower Colouring Page

Lotus Flower Colouring Page

He is a pretty lotus flower to colouring. We've left the outlines simple for cutting out if you wish, too.

Lotus Flower Paper Cup Lantern

Lotus Flower Paper Cup Lantern

This beautiful lotus flower lantern is made out of 3 paper cups! Used with an electric tea light it looks really pretty and the kids will be very proud of their creation... perfect for Vesak celebrations of course, but lovely at any time of year.

Lotus Flower Tracing Page

Lotus Flower Tracing Page

Trace over the dotted lines to draw this stylised lotus flower, then colour in the petals. Alternatively, use it as a template and print onto pink paper for cutting out and sticking...

Mini Chinese Lantern Chain

Mini Chinese Lantern Chain

This mini Chinese Lantern Chain is very quick and easy for kids to make, and as you can see from our photo, it looks absolutely spectacular! A great way to brighten up your home or classroom for Chinese New Year!

Paper Plate Mandala

Paper Plate Mandala

Who would have believed that a simple white paper plate could look so beautiful, and provide such a fun (and inexpensive) weaving craft for the kids? I would love to see a whole wall of these on display...

Pasta Mandala

Pasta Mandala

This is a lovely craft which can be done with any age of child. We've used the excuse of making a mandala, which is symmetrical and repetitive in design, but you may prefer to give the kids free reign!

Stained Glass Lotus Flower

Stained Glass Lotus Flower

This pretty "stained glass" lotus flower is also a simple lesson in symmetry! It looks very pretty hung in a window for the light to shine through it, and would be perfect for Vesak celebrations.

Vesak Colouring Page

Vesak Colouring Page

In some Buddhist countries, children make or buy interestingly shaped lanterns and hang them from trees and lamp-posts to celebrate this colourful holiday. You can see this happening in our Vesak colouring page.

Vesak Cutting Shapes

Vesak Cutting Shapes

Kids can cut out these four images, associated with Vesak and Buddhism in general. Younger children might like to follow the dotted lines while older kids can cut the images out directly. Perfect for sticking onto projects and displays.

Vesak Handwriting Worksheet

Vesak Handwriting Worksheet

Kids can trace over the letters in Vesak until they are confident enough to write them on their own on the last line. And we've provided two traditional Buddha Day lanterns to colour in, too.

Vesak How Many Words

Vesak How Many Words Puzzle

How many words of three letters or more cna you make using the letters in Happy Buddha Day? Use this page to record your results.

Vesak Lanterns Colouring Page

Vesak Lanterns Colouring Page

This type of lantern is often on display for Vesak in Sri Lanka, but you might see similar lanterns made out of colourful paper and wood hanging all over Asia during Buddha Day celebrations.

Vesak Story Paper

Vesak Story Paper

Print out this Vesak story paper for the kids to use when writing about this exciting holiday. They can use it to record what they've learned about Vesak, write about their own celebrations, or perhaps describe what they can see in the picture.

Woven CD Mandala

Woven CD Mandala

Here's a fun way to practise your weaving skills, and design a beautiful "mandala" for display. Younger children may need some help getting started with this craft.

More Vesak Ideas

  • Many, but not all, Buddhists are vegetarian. Perhaps you could prepare and enjoy a vegetarian meal for Vesak?
  • Have a go at meditating with the children! There are many good ideas if you search for "mindfulness for children" or "meditating for children" online. A simple idea to start with is to ask the kids to be very quiet, shut their eyes and sit still, and just listen. What can they hear? Try this indoors and outdoors, and see how long they can sit without fidgeting and what discoveries they make in the process.
  • Vesak is a good excuse for preparing a meal for others, or perhaps donating money or time to a charitable cause.

Here's a Happy Vesak song with words to sing along to!

This video of Vesak celebrations in Sri Lanka shows how colourful, beautiful and exciting the celebrations can be!

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