vesak day

Understanding the Lantern Release Tradition on Vesak Day in Borobudur, Indonesia


Every country has its unique way of celebrating Vesak Day. But have you ever wondered how Indonesia, with its rich cultural heritage, marks this auspicious occasion?

In Indonesia, the celebration of Vesak Day is generally accompanied by the release of hundreds of lanterns into the sky.

The lantern release event is routinely held at Borobudur Temple, Central Java. 

According to information compiled from the official website of the Ministry of Religious Affairs (Kemenag), lanterns have a deep meaning: they are a lamp of human life. They present hope for harmony and happiness in humanity.

Lanterns lit at night are considered a symbol of Buddhists’ willingness to be the light of peace. In addition, the procession of lighting lanterns also symbolizes a better future.

The act of releasing lanterns is not just a mere tradition, but a profound symbol of purging the negativity within each Buddhist, a sacred ritual that holds deep spiritual significance.

Each lantern flown during the Vesak celebration also contains prayers and hopes for every Buddhist.

That is why, before being flown, Buddhist communities can write and hope on the lanterns that will be released.

When the lanterns are flown, the hope is that the prayers will be answered quickly and realized because they are close to the sky.

The lantern festival activity of flying it into the night sky is divided into several events, namely:

  • Writing prayers on paper provided by the committee
  • Joint prayer procession
  • Flying lanterns together

The lantern release event is not exclusive to Buddhists. It’s a celebration that welcomes everyone, allowing the general public to participate by purchasing a ticket.

Unfortunately, the tickets were sold out, as informed by the Borobudur Temple Tourism Park through the Instagram page @borobudurpark in early May 2024. 

The ticket price of Rp600 thousand per person, which includes the temple entrance and T-shirt, was sold out by visitors who wanted to enjoy the seconds of Vesak at the largest Buddhist temple.

There are actually many questions surrounding the release of the lanterns. One of them is whether the released lanterns will not become air pollution.

However, the lanterns used are made of tissue. Therefore, the lanterns that are flown will disintegrate into ash after burning out.

Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy Sandiaga Salahudin Uno hopes that the 2024 Vesak celebration can increase tourist visits and provide opportunities for local communities. 

Each Vesak celebration brings a wave of visitors, filling up all hotels, homestays, and tourist villages around Borobudur Temple. This influx of tourists not only boosts the local economy but also creates new job opportunities, improving the welfare of the people in the region.

The theme of the 2024 Vesak celebration is: “To Live Happily as Beings and Humans, Let Us Increase the Awareness Taught by the Buddha; Avoid Worldly Greed, Ignorance, Anger, and Hatred.”

Happy Vesak Day!

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A writer fueled by passion, with a deep admiration for Taylor Swift’s artistry. You can find Imelda on the weekend in the joy of being a paw parent or curled up on the couch, engrossed in the latest sci-fi or mystery novel.

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