Buddha Purnima, the largest religious festival of the Buddhist community, is set to be observed on Thursday across the country.
On the occasion of the Buddha Purnima, President Mohammed Shahabuddin and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina issued separate messages and greeted the members of the Buddhist community as well as the countrymen, reports BSS.
In his message, President Shahabuddin said Buddha Purnima is a holy religious festival related to the birth and attaining supreme enlightenment and great passing away (Mohaporinirvana) of Gautam Buddha.
The head of the state said Gautam Buddha always sought welfare for mankind and he tried his best to make the whole world a peaceful and prosperous.
The President said Buddha disseminated the message of equity and friendship during his entire life to establish peace and harmony in the world.
Ideals and philosophy of Buddha can play an important role in establishing peace in society, removing unrest and intolerance from the world and saving people from moral degradation, he said, adding that the civilisation and culture of the Buddhists are profoundly integrated with the soil and the people of this country.
Paharpur and Mainamati Shalban Bihar are its shining examples, he added.
Noting that Bangladesh is a country of communal harmony, he said since past times, people of all religions of this country have been observing their respective religions and rituals with great splendor which is a bright tradition of harmony of the people of this country.
"We hope that the Buddhist community will continue their efforts for the development of the country by practicing this tradition and upholding the great ideals of the Buddha," Shahabuddin said.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, in her message, said overcoming greed, hatred and lust, Gautama Buddha preached the messages of non-violence, friendship and compassion throughout his life for the peace, harmony and welfare of mankind.
"In today's world, it is necessary to follow the teachings of Buddha in order to suppress the brute force maddened by violence, prevent the degradation of values and build a peaceful society," the premier added.
Noting that Bangladesh is a country of communal harmony, she said people of every religion have been practicing their respective religions in a festive, free and undisturbed environment in this country since past times.
The constitution of the country guarantees equal rights to people of all religions and castes, she said, adding: "We believe 'Religion is for individuals while festivals for all.'"
"We are working tirelessly to build a society free from discrimination by embracing the cultural heritage of thousands of years and the spirit of the Great Liberation War.," Sheikh Hasina said.
She said Buddhists have also been equally participating in the socio-economic development activities of Bangladesh for ages.
The premier hoped that everyone will play a role in making Bangladesh a peaceful country by holding and cherishing the ideals of Buddha.
The day is a public holiday.
On the occasion, newspapers will publish articles while Bangladesh Betar, Bangladesh Television (BTV) and private TV channels will broadcast special programmes highlighting the significance of the day.
The celebrations usually start with lighting of lamps and hoisting of the national and religious flags atop the Mohabihar and chanting of sacred verses from Tripitaka.
The Buddhist devotees are expected to offer various gift items, including fruits, flowers and candles, to statues of Lord Buddha throughout the day.