29May 2018

Vesak Day in Singapore: A Unique Celebration That Where the World is Invited

Festivals unite people from all over the world. Keeping aside all the religious differences, it is these festivals that show that true humanity still exists. You may have heard a lot about Durga Puja or Holi or La Tomatina or even Christmas and they are widely celebrated all across the world. Vesak Day is one festival that brings all of Singapore together. Not only in Singapore, this day is celebrated primarily by the Buddhists from all around the world. It marks the birth, enlightenment, and death of the great Gautam Buddha. This festival takes place on the 29th of May every year and if you are planning to visit Singapore at that time of the year, then there are few things that you would like to know before being a part of the festival.

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The Common Offerings

Temples remain full at this time of the year. However, everything is managed very well. Everyone gets their chance to offer joss sticks, candles, and flowers to the almighty. There is a reason why these things are offered. The withering of flowers and the burning of joss sticks and candles indicate that all good things will decay and pass away one and life is fleeting. Blood donations are organized at hospitals and thousands of Buddhists donate blood on this day. It is considered a good deed and Vesak Day is one day when everyone tries to do at least one good deed day.

Bathing the Buddha

It is also known as Waters of Life and is a very popular ritual that is followed on Vesak Day. Central statues of Buddha are bathed on this day. Worshippers gather around a statue that is surrounded by a basin or pool. These pools ate decorated with flowers that a sweet smell. Water from the pool is taken and poured on the statue. This is done as a symbol of remembrance that Gautam Buddha as a little prince was bathed with waters of nine dragons.

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Illuminating the Buddha

This marks the end of Vesak Day. Statues of Gautam Buddha are illuminated. People gather in the streets with candles. There is a candlelight procession that takes place. The best place to be at this time is Phor Kark See Temple because it sees the biggest candlelight procession. The “three step, one bow” ritual is followed during this walk. Worshippers and devotees take steps on their knees and after their third step they bow down. It signifies their prayers for the world and world peace, their repentance, and personal blessings. This is something that most followers would do but is not compulsory for one and all. You may not be a part of this ritual, but only be with others walking in the procession.

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