Apr 26, 2012

Buddha’s Birthday 2012

Buddha’s Birthday is a traditional Mayhayana Buddhist holiday celebrated throughout all of Asia. Recognized as an official holiday only in Hong Kong, Macau and South Korea, Buddha’s Birthday is a time to honor and revere the birthday of the Prince Siddhartha Gautama.

When Is It?

Trick question. The official answer is that Buddha’s Birthday is celebrated on the 8th day of the 4th month in the Chinese calendar. Of course, the date for those who use the Gregorian calendar shifts from year to year. This year’s holiday will be celebrated on April 28, 2012 in Hong Kong. South Koreans, and Tibetan Buddhists will celebrate 2012′s holiday on May 28th. The Japanese celebrate Buddha’s birthday on April 8th or May 8th of this year.

What Is The Significance of Buddha’s Birthday?

Buddha's Birthday 2012
Buddha’s Birthday 2012 means different things to the widely varying cultures of Asia. Celebrations vary substantially and tend to be highly representative of the cultural traditions in each country or region. In many parts of the world, Buddha’s Birthday is a very low-key event. In some areas the holiday is celebrated with parades, and high-energy parties complete with drunken revellers.

Buddha’s Birthday In Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, water plays a significant role in the celebration of Buddha’s birthday. Many Buddhists celebrate the holiday by visiting monasteries and bathing Buddha statues. Though Buddhism is the largest religion in Hong Kong, the city has experienced dwindling numbers of Buddhists in recent years. Whether they profess Buddhism or combine elements of Taoism and Confucian principles, Buddha’s Birthday is a great opportunity to experience the peace, serenity and spirituality of one of Hong Kong’s amazing temples.

Buddha's Birthday 2012 Photo
For non-Buddhists, Buddha’s birthday is a minor affair. Unlike other public holidays, most of Hong Kong’s shops and restaurants remain open during Buddha’s Birthday. Since the Hong Kong government officially recognized Buddha’s Birthday as an official holiday in 1997, the holiday has been a great excuse to take a day off of work for non-Buddhists. Unfortunately for those who view the holiday as just another “day off”, this year’s holiday lands on a Saturday.

Where Is Buddha’s Birthday Celebrated?

Buddha’s Birthday is celebrated throughout the Eastern world. Celebrations vary substantially and tend to be highly representative of the cultural traditions in each country or region. In Nepal, the birth of Buddha is celebrated for the entire month of May.

Where You Should Celebrate It In 2012

Buddha's Birthday 2012 Image
Lantau Island’s Po Lin Monastery and Tian Tan Buddha (“The Big Buddha”) are two of the best places to experience Buddha’s Birthday in 2012. The island will fill with party-goers and reverent Buddhists, and lines at ferries and Ngong Ping 360 can become massive. Tuen Mun’s Miu Fat Monastery, as well as Chi Lin Nunnery are more of Hong Kong’s most popular attractions during Buddha’s Birthday.

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