Celebrating Buddha's birthday

Travel

Celebrating Buddha's birthday

by: Takahiro Takiguchi | .
Stripes Okinawa | .
published: April 09, 2013

Children poured sweet tea to celebrate Buddha’s birthday at Chokoku-ji temple, Tokyo on April 8

On April 8, Buddhists celebrated Sakyamuni’s birthday, commemorating the compassion and enlightenment of Buddha (literally, the Enlightened One).   

In Japan, the day is called Gotan-e (the celebration of Buddha’s birthday) or Hana-matsuri (Flower Festival) and is celebrated.  Buddhist temples placed the statue of Baby Buddha in a small chapel beautifully decorated with flowers outside of temple.  Visitors pour sweet tea over the statue with a ladle. 

This tradition is based on Buddhist’s legend.  According to the legend, when Sakyamuni was born in Nepal on April 8, 566 B.C, a lot of beautiful lotus flowers came out of the Earth and supported him while celestial birds sang beautiful songs.  Perfumed blossoms were also showered rained down from heaven, and two streams of sparkling water poured from the sky to bathe him.

Pouring sweet tea onto the statue of Baby Buddha in a small chapel symbolizes the scene.

takiguchi.takahiro@stripes.com