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Buddha Birthday celebrations throughout the world vary from place to place according to the different schools of the
faith that have developed.
In Hong Kong, the birthday of Lord Buddha remains one of the largest Buddhist festivals and it is a National Holiday
celebrated on the 8th day of the 4th moon in the Lunar calendar,
normally in April or May on the Western calendar. In 2021 it will be on May 19, 2021.
The Three Great Golden Buddhas at Po Lin Monastery
On this occasion, Buddhist temples and monasteries throughout the territory are buzzing with activity...
... lanterns are lit to
symbolize the Buddha's enlightment...
... altars are adorned with offerings and incense...
... and thousands of worshippers come to pay their respects and join in the
Water plays an important part of the festivities as images of the Buddha are bathed to signify
Bathing of the Buddha Ceremonies
During this cleansing ritual which involves bowing and offering a
prayer, a ladle is filled with water
and poured over the Buddha statue.
The meaning of the rite is purification of your own soul.
Worshippers and the public
can participate in the Bathing ceremonies as well as other activities including
- Group chanting and prayer sessions
- Vegetarian cooking demonstrations
- Kung fu and various cultural performances
2021 Lord Buddha's Birthday Celebrations in Hong Kong
May 19, 2021
This is a wonderful week to visit some of Hong Kong's buddhist temples and shrines as they will be bustling with activity. It is a great way
to get a peek into the old traditions and customs of Hong Kong.
Here's what's going on at some of the city's most notable venues:
The Big Buddha and Po Lin Monastery Events
One of the major celebrations in Hong Kong takes place at the Po Lin Monastery in Lantau Island where the
Tian Tan Big Buddha sits nearby.
This is also one of Hong Kong's major attractions and one of our favorite day trips. Getting there with the fantastic Ngong Ping Cable Car is the icing
on the cake.
What?: Buddha Bathing Ceremony
When?: May 19, 2021 - various times
Where?: The Hall of the Great Hero
How Much?: FREE
In addition, religious services and the Great Compassion Repentance Service during the Buddha's Birthday will be held from May 13 - 19, 2021
Also please note that at the present moment the Big Buddha is currently undergoing renovations. The Big Buddha statue is covered and the areas in the vicinity of the Big Buddha statue will be closed. The Monastery remains open for services.
Hong Kong Buddhist Association Events
This organization has been hosting large-scale "Bathing Buddha" ceremonies since 1999.
In 2012, a special celebration took place when the Association organised a Grand Blessing Ceremony dedicated
to all citizens of Hong Kong to commemorate the 15th Anniversary of the handover to China.
The highlight of the celebration was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the Buddha's Parietal-bone Relic which was brought to Hong
Kong for the first time. This relic is believed to be a part of the skull of the Supreme Buddha Sakyamuni, the only known in the world and naturally one of the highest spiritual objects in Buddhism.
The celebrations are normally held in the Hong Kong Coliseum where Non-Buddhists are also welcome to join. This year however, events will be held virtually due to the pandemic.
The Hong Kong Buddhist Association will hold a Festival to celebrate the Buddha's birthday with the public. The three-day celebration will include the Bathing the Buddha Ceremony, Sutra Chanting Ceremony, Refuge Taking Ceremony, Dharma talks and lectures
What?: Buddha's Birthday Festival
When?: May 18 - May 20, 2021
Where?: All events will be held virtually
More Info: www.hkbuddhist.org (In Chinese) or call +852 2574 9371 for details.
The Chi Lin Nunnery Celebrations
The Chi Lin Nunnery is located in the Diamond Hill District and it is in one word blissful... Truly an oasis of calmness and beauty and worth
a visit, during the Buddha Birthday celebrations or at any other time during the year. Specially when combined with a visit to the nearby Nan Lian Gardens:
What?: Buddha Bathing Ceremonies and Celebrations
When?: May 19, 2021 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Where?: Chi Lin Nunnery
How Much?: FREE
The 10,000 Buddha Monastery
In Sha Tin, the New Territories, this is also a great place to check out the celebrations. There is a steep climb to reach the Monastery, but
it is well-worth it! Not recommended for wheelchair-bound travellers.
What?: Buddha Bathing Ceremonies and complimentary vegetarian noodles
When?: May 19, 2021 - TBC 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Where?: Ten Thousand Buddha Monastery
How Much?: FREE first-come-first-served
Buddha's Birthday Carnival at Victoria Park - TBA
Organised by the Buddha's Light International Association of Hong Kong, this is normally a big celebration with more than 100,000 people attending.
The celebrations include a vegetarian food fair, carnival games, a flower show, arts and crafts, as well as a "Kid's Paradise" entertainment zone.
The public takes part in rituals such as bathing the Buddha, wish-making, meditating, and sutras calligraphy, which serve to purify one's mind.
Scope of this year's Carnival and celebrations is TBA. While previous carnivals have been held in Victoria Park, this year's event is likely to be on a smaller scale if at all. Stay tuned!
When?: TBC May 19, 2021
How Much?: FREE
More Info: The Buddha's Light International Association or check their FB Page
Here's more on Hong Kong Religion, Traditions and Temples.
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