Elsa Primary School is near Bodhgaya, a small town which is known worldwide as the epicentre of Buddhism. It is the site of the historical Bodhi Tree (ficus religiosa) under which Buddha is said to have realized Awakening 2,588 years ago. The complex around the tree has a very peaceful ambience. Any time one visits there are pilgrims practising devotion and meditation. In and around the township of Bodhgaya, there are many contemporary Buddhist monasteries and meditation centres.
Purnima is a Sanskrit word meaning full moon. Each full moon day in India has a spiritual significance. The full moon day in May is Buddha Purnima, the commemoration of Buddha’s Birth, Awakening & Parinirvana. In other countries, it is known as Vesak or Visakha Puja. Buddhists from all over India come to Bodhgaya each year for this auspicious event. This year, Purnima was celebrated at Elsa Primary School with offerings of flowers, candles, incense and reverential chanting. The students were given a meal of milk rice – the food Buddha reportedly ate just before his Awakening.