Gregorian calendar Current Affairs - 2020

April 23: World Book Day

Every year, World Book Day or International Day of Book or World Book and Copyrights Day is organised by United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Highlights

The World Book Day is being celebrated since 1995. The idea of World Book Day was given a writer Vicente Clavel Andres to celebrate World Book Day on the death anniversary of author Miguel de Cervantes.

Initially his birthdate October 7 was proposed. But as the death anniversaries of William Shakespeare and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega also falls on April 23, the later was selected.

However, in reality Shakespeare died 10 days after Cervantes. This was because when the legends lived, Spain used Gregorian calendar and England used Julian Calendar.

Miguel de Cervantes

Miguel de Cervantes was a Spanish writer. He was well known for the classic western literature “Don Quixote”. He lived in 17th century. He was a soldier, poet, novelist, tax collector and a playwright. He was forced to leave Spain and hence he worked as a cardinal in Rome.

18 May: ‘Buddha Purnima’ celebrated

Buddha Purnima also known as Vaishak Purnima is the birth anniversary of Gautama Buddha (or Lord Buddha). 18 May 2019 witnessed the 2,563rd birth anniversary of the Buddha and is being celebrated across the world.

About Buddha Purnima

  • Background: Buddha Purnima festival is traditionally celebrated to commemorate birth of Siddhartha Gautama​, who later became Gautama Buddha and founded Buddhism. People celebrate Siddhartha’s (a king by birth) choice to embrace a spiritual quest when he witnessed the suffering of common people which inspired him to let go of his royal life. He then renounced all worldly pleasures and became a holy man.
  • It is celebrated every year on the full moon day (known as Purnima), in month of Vaishakha, according to Hindu Lunar calendar.
  • Reason: It is also celebrated as Vesak in South and Southeast Asia. The day commemorates birth, death as well as enlightenment of Lord Buddha, all of which is said to have taken place on same day. It is after this enlightenment that later Siddhartha earned the title Buddha which means ‘The Enlightened One’.
  • Significance: Celebrating Buddha Purnima is all about praying with purest of feelings, and adopting what Buddhism stand for which is peace, harmony and non-violence.

Celebrations Worldwide

  • Nepal: is considered as Buddha’s birth country. He was born in Lumbini (now in modern-day Nepal). There Buddha Purnima day is celebrated on full moon day of Vaisakha month in accordance to Buddhist calendar.
  • Southeast Asian Nations: celebrate day during Vaisakha month of Buddhist and Hindu calendar, which is generally the month of April or May according to Gregorian calendar.
  • Others:
  • On this day, Countries all over world such as Malaysia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, South Vietnam, Myanmar, China, Cambodia, Singapore, Indonesia, Taiwan, Australia,
  • Canada, United States (US) celebrate the essence of Buddhism. It is public holiday in many countries, and is celebrated by commemorating different ethnicities and cultures.

Celebrations India

  • It is celebrated by paying a visit to common Viharas (monastery for Buddhists), where Buddhists observe a longer than usual and full-length Buddhist sutra (or suttas), which is similar to a service.

17 May: Vesak Day

  • On 17 May 2019 United Nation (UN) observed “Vesak”, the Day of the Full Moon in month of May.
  • In 1999, the UN General Assembly (UNGA), by its resolution 54/115, recognized internationally Day of Vesak, to acknowledge contribution of Buddhism in world.