There are many Buddist holidays throughout the year, but Vesak Day in Singapore is one of the most important. The holy festival also known as Buddha’s Birthday brings diverse people from all over the world to celebrate. Vesak Day commemorates the highlights in Siddhartha Gautama’s life, celebrating his greatest teachings and spiritual leadership . Accompanied by beautiful rituals, Vesak Day memorializes three major events in the life of Gautama. First, his birth, then his enlightenment and nirvana, and finally his passing. Each event includes stunning ceremonial rituals. Let’s take a deeper look at Vesak Day in Singapore.
When is Vesak Day?
No one knows the exact day Siddhartha Gautama was born. However, people believe Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and death all happened on a full moon in the lunar month Vesak. There are many Buddhist cultures around the world, so people in India, Japan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and other Asian countries celebrate the holiday in different ways. They even celebrate Vesak Day on different dates! The holiday usually falls between April and May. In Singapore, Vesak Day is the 15th day in the fourth month on the Chinese Lunar Calendar. This year, its date is May 7th, 2020.
How is Vesak Day in Singapore Celebrated?
Festivities for Vesak Day in Singapore begin at the crack of dawn. Faithful Buddhists gather by the thousands for a special ceremony at local temples. There, they pray for their loved ones, world peace, and redemption. The main rituals include decorating temples with flowers, raising the Buddhists’ flag, bathing Buddha and chanting praises.
In the afternoon, there are candlelit processions, and people carry big illuminated Buddha statues through Singapore’s streets. A very bright and colorful sight, they attract both devotees and onlookers alike. Colorful parades with musicians, dancers, floats and dragons are also popular during the Vesak Day celebration in Singapore.
It’s All About Giving
Besides the beautiful rituals, it’s people’s good deeds that really count. Like Buddha said, the true way to pay him tribute is to follow his teachings. Thus, the festival’s real purpose is to practice love, kindness, generosity and harmony with yourself and others.
Showing kindness to those less fortunate is an important part of the Vesak Day celebration in Singapore. Noble deeds include charity, blood donations, releasing captured animals. Some people only eat vegetarian food — a symbol of compassion for all living things. Sending gifts to Singapore for those in need is another popular tradition. By doing so, people believe that they will multiply their merit many times over.
Celebrants offer flowers and incense sticks in the temples, as well. This tradition reminds people through burning sticks and wilting flowers how temporal and transient life really is. The morning sun never lasts a day, that’s why it’s important to live a moral and compassionate life every moment.
Vesak Day Gifts Ideas In Singapore
Another great way to do something worthy for your relatives, friends, colleagues or business partners is sending gifts for Vesak Day. The holiday’s symbolism is so tightly connected with flowers, it’s the perfect occasion to spoil the people you care about with a stunning bouquet to Singapore. While the lotus is the most symbolic flower during the festival, popular arrangements often also feature orchids, roses, and lilies.
Since Vesak Day is about compassion for all living things, gifts containing meat and dairy are unacceptable. Instead, gift baskets to Singapore featuring gourmet snacks, sweets and chocolate are better choices. Buddha’s Birthday is all about sharing, so fruit baskets filled to the brim with exotic and local delights are perfect gifts for families and gifts for colleagues.
Candles, along with flowers, play a significant role in the holiday’s symbolism, too. So, sending a keepsake candle to a loved one by itself or together with a pretty flower arrangement is a thoughtful way of showing how much you care.
Bathing The Buddha Ritual
One of the most popular rituals practiced in Buddhist temples on Vesak Day in Singapore, is the ‘bathing’ of Buddha. People gather near special round basins decorated with flower garlands and filled with fragrant water. The flowers represent the Garden of Lumbini, a popular place of pilgrimage where Siddhartha was born in 623 B.C. A small statue of baby Buddha is installed in the center of the basin. People take turns pouring the fragrant water on the statue using special ladles. People of all ages participate in the ritual but young children seem to particularly enjoy the ceremony.
The bathing Buddha ritual started as way to remember the legend about how Siddhartha and the nine dragons who showered him when he was born. A symbol of inner purification, the tradition is performed to improve inner balance, harmony and to reach enlightenment. The ritual’s participants remember that although it’s possible to clean the body, it’s more difficult to cleanse oneself from inner impurities and ignorance. So, the ceremony serves as a symbol of purity and new beginnings.
A joyous festival observed in Buddhist communities around the world, Vesak Day in Singapore is not just a holiday commemorating Buddha’s birthday. It is also the time for reflection, compassion and sharing. Whether it’s your kindness, good deeds or gifts you choose to share this year, it’s important to do it from the bottom your heart. Only sincerely good intentions count on Vesak Day.
Ready to Celebrate Vesak Day?
– Practice generosity on Buddha’s Birthday by sending gifts to Singapore to your loved ones.
– Read about another international holiday in our blog Unwrapping Islam’s Biggest Holiday – A Look Inside Celebrating Ramadan
– And don’t forget to share by pressing your favorite social media buttons below!