Buddha’s Birthday

buddha's birthday hong kong

Buddha’s Birthday Hong Kong 2017

Buddha’s birthday, also known as Buddha Bathing Festival, is a day to celebrate the birth of the founder of Buddhism, Sakyamuni Buddha. It falls on the 8th day of the 4th month in the Lunar Calendar, which is usually in May in the Gregorian calendar. This year, the birthday of Buddha is on 3 May 2017.

Who is Buddha – the spread of Buddhism

Sakyamuni Buddha, literally means the sage of the Shakya (clan), was the founder of Buddhism. His name is Siddhartha Gautama. He was born as a prince of a republican state in Ancient India (southern Nepal nowadays). In many folk beliefs, he was deified and regarded as the God.

At present, Buddhism has two major branches which are Theravada and Mahayana. Mahayana Buddhism spread from India to various South, East and Southeast Asian countries. It also includes the Vajrayana traditions of Tibetan Buddhism. It is generally believed that Buddhism was first introduced to China in the Han Dynasty (206 BCE–220 CE). The tradition of Mahayana Buddhism developed in China as Chan Buddhism from the 6th century CE onwards. Chan (禪), literally means meditation, then spread to Vietnam as Thien, Korea as Seon, and Japan as Zen.

Buddha’s birthday Celebrations

Legend has it that when the Buddha was born, nine dragons sprayed water to bathe the baby. Therefore, it has become a ritual to bath statues of the Buddha on his birthday. Devotees believe that Buddha Bathing can help purifying one’s soul.

Every year on the Buddha’s birthday, Buddhist temples in Hong Kong have various celebrations and ceremonies such as Buddha Bathing, Dharma Talks, praying to Buddha for a better society, going vegetarian, lighting joss sticks as well as offering flowers and fruit. Buddhists usually review what they have learnt on this day. Some Chinese folk customs are introduced into the celebrations, for example dragon and lion dance, hanging lanterns and even firing firecrackers. One of the greatest ceremonies is held at the Po Lin Monastery, Lantau Island, home of the Big Buddha.

Date: 3 May 2017

How to get to Po Lin Monastery

  • MTR Tung Chung Station Exit B, take New Lantao Bus 23 from Tung Chung Town Centre
  • Central Pier 6, catch a ferry to Mui Wo, then take New Lantao Bus 2 to Ngong Ping Village

Have you celebrated Buddha’s Birthday 2017?

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