Kofi Annan Salutes Vesak

May 11, 2006

Source: Tricycle


On May 11, 2006 Tricycle reported, "Speaking at the United Nations today, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan paid tribute to the Buddhist holiday of Vesak and stressed the importance of recognizing the interdependence of the world's people. The Vesak Festival, one of the most important holidays on the Buddhist calendar, especially in [S]outheast Asia and Sri Lanka, is celebrated on the first full moon of the month of May and commemorates the birth, enlightenment, and death of the Buddha. In 2006 Vesak falls on May 13th, but Friday the 12th will be the official observance and public holiday in many countries. Vesak was formalized as an international holiday at the first Conference of the World Fellowship of Buddhists in Sri Lanka in 1950, though Buddhist festivals held at this time of year date back many centuries. The United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution to give official recognition to the holiday in 1999. Mr. Annan emphasized that world leaders must work together to face the challenges of the 21st century, particularly those outlined in the UN's World Summit in 2005. The ideals celebrated on Vesak are close to those of the United Nations itself, Mr. Annan said."