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Buddhists believe that several buddhas, or enlightened teachers, have been born throughout history.  Yet the title “the Buddha” typically refers to a historical figure, Siddhartha Gautama, who went on to found Buddhism. Each year on the Buddha’s birthday, East Asian Buddhists recreate his first bath by pouring water or sweetened tea over a statue of the infant.


Over the centuries, various efforts have helped the Buddha’s birthday become a major global holiday, but celebrations still take place on different dates and with different traditions.

Megan Bryson, an associate professor of religious studies, provides insight into the history of Buddha’s birthday from her research as a scholar of East Asian religions.

Read Bryson’s full article on The Conversation.

UT is a member of The Conversation, an independent source for news articles and informed analysis written by the academic community and edited by journalists for the general public. Through our partnership, we seek to provide a better understanding of the important work of our faculty.


Cindi King (865-974-0937,​