Never in my life did I ever think I would attend Buddha's Birthday Celebration. But Eddie asked me if I might be interested in going. It would be more than acknowledging Buddha, it was a huge festival with music, food, markets, and entertainment with some Buddha worshipping - or whatever it is that they do - mixed in every now and then.
I was planning on hanging out with Frida on Friday night in Southbank anyway... and it just so happened that the festival was located in South Bank. So Eddie, his friend and I rode the bus out to Southbank and met up with Frida (who had just finished up a class out in the city) on Friday night. We walked around, grabbed some food and then sat down to watch some of the entertainment. It was actually really interesting.
They had some stuff set up: pictures and statues etc. And there was this one little section - you'll see it in the video - that had a watering trough with little dolls standing in it. People would walk up to it, scoop up some water in a little spoon thing and pour it on the little doll. Eddie explained it to me as pouring water on Buddha. You would pour water on Buddha's left shoulder and it would give you good luck. I passed on watering the Buddha and went on to grab some food.
After the entertainment: music, lion dancing and kung fu, there was the Offering of Light to Buddha. Everyone that participated was given a candle. They placed it on the ground and walked away. I didn't really understand the significance of it, but it looked pretty cool. Following the offering of light, people were given the opportunity to water the Buddha again - this time in the plaza.
It was a very interesting night. I'm glad Eddie invited me, but it's still something I just don't understand. Buddhism just seems like it's based on a lot of wishful thinking, luck and inner peace.
Here's the video to get an idea of what the night was like: