Date: May 26
Vesak, also known as Buddha Day, is one of the most important of the Theravada Buddhist festivals, which commemorates three milestones in the life of Gautama Buddha: his birth, his enlightenment and his death.
Vesak is recognized on the day of the full moon of the sixth lunar month (May).
The observance of Vesak includes Buddhists attending temple before dawn for the ceremonial raising of the Buddhist flag, and singing hymns in praise of the holy triple gem: the Buddha, the Dharma (his teachings) and the Sangha (his disciples). Offerings of flowers, candles and joss-sticks are laid at the feet of their teacher to remind followers that as flowers wither away and candles and joss-sticks burn out, life is also subject to decay and destruction.
Alternate spellings: Wesak
Wesak Buddhist Festival, Encyclopedia Britannica
Ascension of Bahá’ulláh
Date: May 28
Ascension of Bahá’u’lláh commemorates the anniversary of the death of Bahá’u’lláh, the founder of the Bahá’í faith. Bahá’u’lláh was persecuted, exiled and jailed for much of his life because of his progressive teachings.
The day is observed with prayers and meditative contemplation, and devotional readings are often held at 3:00 a.m., as that is the approximate time of Bahá’u;lláh’s passing. It is one of the nine holy days of the year when work is suspended.
Pronunciation: Bahá’í: Ba-HIGH; Báb: Bahb (Bob); Bahá’u’lláh: Ba-ha-ul-LAH
Ascension of Bahá’u’lláh, Bahá’ís of the United States
When a Prophet Passes Away: The Ascension of Bahá’u’lláh, Bahá’íTeachings.org
Ascension of Bahá’u;lláh, bahaipedia.org
Style guide, glossary and pronunciation guide, Bahá’í World News Service
Culture/religion: National observance
Date: May 31
Three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868, the head of an organization of Union veterans — the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) — established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. Maj. Gen. John A. Logan declared that Decoration Day should be observed on May 30. It is believed that date was chosen because flowers would be in bloom all over the country.
The first large observance was held that year at Arlington National Cemetery, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C.
The ceremonies centered around the mourning-draped veranda of the Arlington mansion, once the home of Gen. Robert E. Lee. Various Washington officials, including Gen. and Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant, presided over the ceremonies. After speeches, children from the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Orphan Home and members of the GAR made their way through the cemetery, strewing flowers on both Union and Confederate graves, reciting prayers and singing hymns.