The United Nations General Assembly in 1999 declared an “International Day of Observance for Vesak” — on the initiative of the then Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar. In 2014, the United Nations declared May 20 as an unofficial UN holiday for Vesak and for the first time the celebrations were hosted by Sri Lanka this month in 2017.
It was on the full moon day in the month of Vesak, Prince Siddharta (the Buddha) was born, enlightened and attained Mahaparinibbāna (nirvana). The full moon day of Vesak is celebrated by Buddhists and non-Buddhists honouring these three important occasions of the life of the Buddha. It is without doubt one of the most beautiful celebrations observed in Sri Lanka.