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What is Vesak?

I went to see Vesak the other night and really couldn’t recognise it. The crowds were massive, the lanterns and kuduwas numbers and for some reason everybody was wearing masks.
I would really like if somebody could explain that part to me, last year when I went the crowds were big but the number of lanterns and kuduwas was higher. And most importantly there were no masks. I asked a friend the other day and she agreed that this seems to be a new tradition that is going hand in hand with the celebrations.
It is ironic that a religion, or philosophy as some would argue, which has nothing to do with devils and demons sees people celebrate its birth by wearing such masks. But that seems to be the way stuff is going now, a religion misinterpreted and people losing the essence of an event.
Not to mention it is damn scary to see men in devil masks tearing down Havelock Road on a motorbike in the middle of the night. Of course seeing the crowds in their thousands is something worth noting, not a site many us would have seen 7-8 years ago.
Of course those on twitter will know there is a certain member of the Presidential staff that continually reminds us of the great job done by the government in allowing us to celebrate Vesak. Funnily enough they don’t seem to want to remind anyone of the actual meaning of the day, but rather choose to show off.
No expenses have been spared this year the entire city has been lit up, government departments and the armed forces have contributed to this event. Of course that all came out of public funds.
Yet does anyone remember what Vesak is about, from a day of site-seeing we have now been presented with a carnival. Music blaring through the night, food stalls set up to rival the traditional dhansalas. Within the madness there is a Pandol which reminds us of the actual meaning of Vesak, too bad not many people are spending time reading the stories depicted.

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