The official ceremony of the UN International Vesak day will be held at the BMICH on May 12, Justice and Buddhasasana Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe said yesterday after meeting the Chief Prelates of the Malwatu and Asgiriya chapters in Kandy.
The minister said that Indian President Narendra Modi will be the chief guest.
The minister said that he had briefed the two Mahanayake Thera’s about the government plans to UN international vesak festival in Sri Lanka. Over 2000 delegates including Buddhist and political leaders from several countries will attend the event.
The festival will be launched at the special Vesak zone at Diyawanna near the Parliament complex and the concluding ceremony will take place in Kandy, the minister said.
This United Nations Vesak Day is celebrated annually in Buddhist countries. This is the first time Sri Lanka has been given the opportunity to host this festival.
Minister Rajapakshe on behalf of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe made an official request from the UN Vesak Committee at the last UN Vesak day in Thailand for the hosting of the festival in Sri Lanka in 2017.
The UN General Assembly in 1999 declared an “International Day of Observance for Vesak” — on the initiative of the then Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar.