Buddha Birthday Celebrations

Bathing Rituals and Blessing Ceremonies...
May 19, 2021

Some events may be cancelled due to the current health precautions. Please check with event organisers for updates.

Tian Tan Buddha in Hong Kong

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.

Buddha Birthday Celebrations at Po Lin Monastery
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 celebrations...

Water plays an important part of the festivities as images of the Buddha are bathed to signify spiritual purity.

Bathing of the Buddha Ceremonies

Bathing of Buddha Ritual

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.

Tian Tan Lord Buddha Birthday in Hong Kong

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.

More Info:

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.

Hong Kong Buddhist Association Lord Buddha Events

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

Chi Lin Nunnery

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:

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

More Info:

The 10,000 Buddha Monastery

10000 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

More Info:

Buddha's Birthday Celebrations by the Buddha's Light International Association

Buddha Birthday Carnival at Victoria Park

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 will be limited. While previous carnivals have been held in Victoria Park, this year's event is likely to be on a smaller scale. Stay tuned!

When?: May 12-19, 2021 10:00 am to 6:00 pm Bathing of Buddha, other events to be held online, must register
Where?: Hong Kong Foguang Taoist Hall
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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