On this day, we visit the local Buddhist temple to make offerings and participate in ritual of bathing of the baby Buddha. It is certainly a colourful event and followers pay homage by offering flowers, fruit, incense and light. We honour the Buddha as a teacher (Guru) and not as a diety. Contrary to popular belief, Buddhism as a religion is not about worshipping the Buddha as a god, but to follow his teachings.
Vesak is also a time to bring happiness to those in need and the the underprivileged. Food is offered to followers and gifts are made to those in need. These values should not be practised and observed on one day only, but followers should do so all the time. Temples are decorated and though Vesak is one day (usually a public holiday), festivities will continue for a while longer. This year, due to the coronavirus, all places of worship in the UK are closed. I do miss going to the temple and enjoy the atmosphere. But we can celebrate in other ways.
Vesak is celebrated on different days, depending on where you are. In China, Vesak is always celebrated on the 8th day of the 4th lunar month. This year, it will be the 30th April, though other countries will celebrate on the 6th or 7th of May. This is rather like Christmas being on different days for different Christian denominations. For traditional events, I always go by the Chinese lunar calendar.
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