Buddha Day (Hanamatsuri)

“This is the birthday of Sakyamuni Buddha.  He was born about 2500 years ago in India on the eighth day of the fourth month.  According to our tradition and calendar, this glorious event occurred on April 8th.  His given name was Siddhartha and he was the crown prince of the kingdom of Kapilavastu, on the Nepalese border, one hundred miles north of the present city of Benares.  The legends tell us that at the time of his birth in the beautiful Lumina garden, sweet rain came down from the heaven to wash the baby Buddha and all the flowers in the yard turned into full bloom.  This is why we call the Buddha’s birthday Hanamtsuri.  We decorate the Handmaid (flower chapel) and perform the ceremony of bathing the Buddha.” 

- Rev. Masami Fujitani, taken from his article on Buddha Day in Buddhist Special Observances & National Holidays

In a Nut Shell...

Date: 8 April

Translation:  Hanamatsuri: flower-festival.

Description: Commemorates the birth of the historic Buddha, Shakamuni. 

What does the temple do to celebrate? A small flower decorated shrine is set in front of the Naijin and a small statue of the infant Siddhartha is placed inside the flowered shrine.  During the ceremony, sweet tea is poured over a statue of the infant Siddhartha.  The flower shrine represents the Lumina Garden where he was born and the sweet tea symbolizes the sweet rain that fell during his birth.

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