Date: May 16
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
Date: May 19
Lag BaOmer (“33rd day in the Omer) is a festive Jewish holiday that falls on the 33rd day of the Omer – the seven-week period between Passover and Shavuot.
Lag BaOmer provides a break from the semi-mourning restrictions (no parties or events with music, no weddings, no haircuts) that are typically in place for some Jewish communities during the Omer. Many people choose this day to get married or get a haircut.
The Omer has agricultural and spiritual significance – it marks the spring cycle of planting and harvest, and the Israelites’ journey out of slavery in Egypt (Passover) and toward receiving the Torah at Mount Sinai (Shavuot).
In observance of the holiday, bonfires are lit, traditional songs are sung around bonfires and at weddings, Jewish unity and pride is demonstrated through parades and children get their first haircuts, among other ways of celebration.
Alternate names: Lag LaOmer (“33rd day of the Omer”)
Alternate spellings: Lag b’Omer
Pronunciation: LAHG BOH-mayr
Lag BaOmer, ReformJudaism.org
Glossary of Jewish Terminology, Judaism 101, jewfaq.org
Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
Jewish American Heritage Month