What sort of gift do you bring Buddha on his Birthday? That depends on where you live. Though it's often referred to as Buddha's birthday, Vesak Day actually encompasses the birth, enlightenment nirvana, and passing (parinibbana) of Gautama Buddha. Practicing Buddhists in South Asian and Southeast Asian countries from Nepal to Indonesia observe the annual public holiday with devotional acts, but the day's name, date, and activities vary widely.

The decision to celebrate Vesak Day as Buddha's birthday was formalized at the first Conference of World Fellowship of Buddhists held in Sri Lanka in 1950.

The resolution asked the governments of all countries in which large or small numbers of Buddhists are found to take steps to make Vesak a public holiday in honor of the Buddha, who is universally acclaimed as one of the greatest benefactors of humanity.

The exact date of the celebration varies depending on the lunar calendars used in different traditions, but for most it falls in May during the first full moon. The day also goes by several country-specific names including Wesak, Vaishaka, Buddha Purnima, Fó Dàn, and Saga Dawa.

Regarded as the most significant day in the Buddhist calendar, worshipers gather to perform meritorious acts to recollect the purity, wisdom, and compassion of the Buddha. Have a look: