Buddha's birthday: the tradition in Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, Buddha's Birthday is a public holiday celebrated on the 8th day of the 4th month in the Chinese lunar calendar. 

As part of changes to the number of statutory holidays, The Buddha's Birthday became a statutory holiday from 2022. 

Lanterns are lit to symbolise the Buddha's enlightenment and many people visit the temple to pay their respects. The bathing of statues of the Buddha is a major feature of Buddha's birthday celebrations in the city. In Macau, All Buddhist temples in Macau will hold the "Lung4 Wa4 Wui5 (龍華會)" ritual ceremony, bathing the Buddha with "Ng5 Heung1 Seui2 (五香水 "Five Scented-Perfumed Water")", which the festival is also a public holiday in Macau.

In Mainland China, this day is generally and commonly called in Chinese 佛誕 (Fódàn), but also called "Yùfú Jié (浴佛節, "Bathing (Purifying) Buddha Festival"), Guànfó Huì (灌佛會, "Pouring on the Buddha Congregational Assembly"), Lóng-huá Huì (龍華會), Huáyán Huì (華嚴會)" or even " 衛塞節 (Wèisāi jié, "Vesak Day), 偉大的衛塞節花節偉大的滿月 (Wěidà de Wèisāi-jié Huā-jié Wěidà de Mǎnyuè, "Great Vesak Day Flower Festival Full Moon of Flower Moon")". Celebrations may occur in Buddhist temples where people may light incense and bring food offerings for the monks.

While there are many Buddhist temples in Hong Kong who will hold special ceremonies on this day, probably the best place to visit is the Po Lin Monastery on Lantau, which houses the world's largest seated, outdoor bronze Buddha. Though be prepared to wait several hours to travel in the cable car on busy days such as Buddha's Birthday and other public holidays.

Shakyamuni Buddha, the historical founder of Buddhism, was born in India 3,000 years ago. There are various opinions concerning the exact dates of his birth and death, but according to Buddhist tradition, he is said to have been born April 8th 1029 BC and died on February 15th 949 BC, although other Buddhist scholars place his birth five hundred years later.

Shakyamuni Buddha was the son of the king of the Shakyas, a small tribe whose kingdom was located at the foothills of the Himalayas, south of what is now central Nepal, fifteen miles from Kapilavastu. Shakya of Shakyamuni is taken from the name of this tribe and muni means sage or saint. His family name was Gautama (Best Cow) and his given name was Siddhartha (Goal Achieved) though some scholars say this is a title bestowed on him by later Buddhists in honour of the enlightenment he attained.

Even though many Buddhists observe Buddha's historical birth on April 8th, the exact date remains in question. Although modern archaeological and historical research confirms that Prince Siddartha Gotama lived around this time.

Where are you celebrating Buddha's birthday? 

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