The Smiling Buddha meme trending on Nigerian Twitter has a dark origin story

As of March 20, 2019, #Buddha is currently trending on Twitter with over 14,000 tweets. It is currently the second trending topic in Nigeria.

The smiling buddha is currently trending on Nigerian Twitter but it actually has nothing to do with luck (Youtube/HGA)

Many Nigerians are sharing pictures of laughing Buddhas, which are being refered to as smiling Buddhas.

They are doing with the hopes of attracting good luck and financial favour. No one knows how it started but #Buddha has started over the Nigerian Twittersphere.

This hope of attracting good luck and financial favour by sharing a laughing Buddha is based on the Western and Chinese beliefs that having a laughing Buddha will bring happiness, luck and prosperity.


Some people go as far as buying statues of the laughing Buddha and placing it by their doors.

It is also believed that rubbing its protruding belly will bring good luck.

But did you know that Smiling Buddha has nothing to do with luck or financial increase?


The term — ‘Smiling Buddha’ is actually a code name assigned to India’s first successful nuclear bomb test on May 18, 1974.

It was a name used to help the country preserve its secrecy. The entire project was also called the “Peaceful Nuclear Explosive”. The Indian government was able to keep its secret until the bomb was successfully detonated by the Indian Army on the army base, Pokhran Test Range (PTR), in Rajasthan.

Officially, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) claimed this test was a “peaceful nuclear explosion”, adding that there were no intentions of militarising its nuclear programme.

This caused issues between India and other countries like Pakistan and Canada. As a result of the fall out following the Smiling Buddha project, India did not carry out further nuclear tests until 1998.


It is still regarded as one of India’s greatest achievements.

On the other, there is a statue called Hotei, the Laughing Buddha. Unlike the Smiling Buddha, this character is based on an eccentric monk was associated with luck and good fortune in many Asian cultures.

He is usually depicted as smiling or laughing. This is the Buddha to share or buy if you want prosperity or good luck.


Now you know the difference.


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