Buddha Day: Birth, Death and Enlightenment

If you missed Chinese New Year and the celebrations that go along with it, there are more opportunities. Buddha Day, also called Vesak Day, falls on the full moon in May. This is a time where Buddhists honor everything Buddha-his birth, death and enlightenment. When exactly events are happening is sketchy. Dates I found are scattered throughout May

You could do some temple hopping to see what’s being celebrated. Finding out exactly when that day isn’t the easiest thing. In Singapore, Chinatown will be lit up with lights starting May 19 and there’s a parade on the 30th. On May 31st head to Lian Shan Shuang Lin Temple in Toa Payoh or Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Temple on Bright Hill Road. According to the Singapore site I found Vesak Day is the 31st.

In Seoul, Korea, Buddha’s birthday is part of the Lotus Lantern Festival that starts today and goes until the 20th. The actual birthday is listed on the 24th. Head to Jogyesa Temple and Jongo. The Parade of Lanterns in the evening is a highlight. In addition to the parade, the festival has lantern making workshops, food, music, dancing. Here is a slide show that’s pretty cool. It’s one of those inspirational types with quotes and photos of festival activities.

In Taiwan, you could head to Dharma Drum Mountain. This is a Buddhist center in Taipei County with events going on every weekend. Everyone’s welcome. This is more of a ceremonial place but it might be interesting. The Web site explains symbolism associated with this day and has photographs of various happenings.