Recipes for Buddha's Birthday

In April & May Buddhists & many Hindus around the world celebrate the Buddha's Birthday with prayers, sparkling lights, delicious vegetarian food & acts of kindness. Buddha's Birthday celebrates the birth, enlightenment (nirvana) & death of the Buddha.

Buddha's Birthday has many different names around the world...

Wesak.Sa Ga Dawo.Buddha Purnima.Phat Dan Vesak.Hana-Matsuri.Buddha Jayanti.Vesak.

  • In Japan the festival is called Hana-Matsuri, The Festival of Flowers. A sweet hydrangea tea called ama-cha is poured over statues of the baby Buddha.

  • In South Korea the festival is called Seokga Tansinil. The temples are decorated with special lotus lanterns. Every year there is a famous lantern parade.

  • In Sri Lanka the festival is called Vesak. Every year people decorate their homes, streets & temples with beautiful dazzling lanterns, candles and lights. As the tropical sun sets & the full moon rises people make their way to the temple.

  • People in India, Nepal, Bhutan, Mongolia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Macau, Indonesia, Thailand, America, Canada & Europe all have their own slightly different ways of celebrating Buddha's Birthday. Check out their customs & recipes online.

A Very Delicious Buddha's Birthday.

Dansala - The sharing of delicious vegetarian dishes, puddings & sweets with the monks & poor people is an important part of Vesak in Sri Lanka.

Let's make two super yummy Sri Lankan puddings. Let's get ready for some measuring-stirring mixing-pouring-dunking-squeezing-mixing-layering & chilling! One recipe is fruity, fresh & zingy, while the other is rich, chocolaty & decadent!

Recipes. Mmmmmmm Yum!

1. Fruity, Fresh & Zingy Papaya Salad with a Jaggery Dip!




Jaggery (palm sugar)

Limes make papaya taste totally amazing!

Jaggery is delicious. It tastes like fudge!


1. Papaya

  • Ask a grown up to help you cut open the papaya & remove the bitter skin.

  • With your fingers scoop out all the round & beady black seeds.

  • Use a blunt plastic knife to cut the soft & juicy papaya into strips or cubes.

  • Feeling extra creative? Use a biscuit cutter for cute shapes.

  • Arrange the papaya on a large dish.

2. Jaggery Dip

  • Use a mortar & pestle to grind the jaggery.

  • Bounce the limes on the kitchen floor. Have a quick game of lime catch in the garden! This makes them easier to squeeze.

  • Ask a grown up to cut the limes in half.

  • Squeeze the limes.

  • Mix the jaggery & lime juice together.

  • Enjoy & Share.

2. Rich & gooey Sri Lankan Chocolate Biscuit Pudding


  • 3 packets of semi sweet biscuits. (Many Sri Lankans use Marie milk biscuits)

  • 1 Small bowl of plant milk

  • 250 g icing sugar

  • 100 g plant based butter

  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder

  • Pinch of salt

  • Jaggery chunks, cashews or fruit for decoration

You also need some parchment paper to line your mould.


  • Sieve the icing sugar into your mixing bowl

  • Add the cocoa powder & a pinch of salt

  • Mix well

  • Add the soft plant based butter

  • Mix well

  • Choose a mould & line with parchment paper

  • Put one big dollop of chocolate mixture into the mould

Save some chocolate mixture for later


  • Dunk a biscuit in the milk for 10 seconds

  • Put a layer of dunked biscuits on top of the chocolate dollop

  • Cover the biscuit layer with another dollop of chocolate

  • Add another layer of dunked biscuits

  • Add another dollop of chocolate

  • Add more layers until your mould is full

  • Put the mould into the fridge for 4 hours or overnight

  • Tip out onto a plate

  • Cover the top with your chocolate mixture

  • Decorate with cashews, fruit or jaggery chunks

Enjoy & Share