Wesak Festival

Wesak is the festival of Shakyamuni Buddha’s birth. This is a precious time when the entire sangha – adults and kids, parents and those without children – celebrates together.

bower3-600The children meet before the Wesak ceremony to decorate a bower with flowers. This becomes shelter for a statue of the baby buddha placed in front of the main altar in the hall.

Wesak-Bower-230During the ceremony, everyone joins a serpentine procession, going to the bower, bowing, and pouring a ladleful of tea over the Buddha’s head, reflecting the legend that sweet rain and flowers fell from the sky when the Buddha was born.

After the ceremony, everyone meets for the birthday party. Naturally, Buddha has a large birthday cake, and needs the youngest kids to blow out the candles on it. A white six-tusked elephant piñata (zeñata, to reflect the dream the Buddha’s mother had when he was conceived) is then dealt with, starting with the littlest kids and proceeding up to blind-folded middle and high schoolers (if it survives that long).

This year’s celebration was held Sunday, May 3.