In Malaysia, Wesak Day is a public holiday and was celebrated on 13th May recently. Wesak or Vesak Day is a holiday observed traditionally by Buddhists in many countries all over the world. It is sometimes called “Buddha’s Birthday” as it commemorates Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and his departure from the human world.
I visited the Buddhist Maha Vihara in Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur – a Buddhist temple founded by the Sinhalese community to provide a place of worship in the Sri Lankan Thevrada Buddhist tradition. There was going to be an 8km Wesak light and float procession at night, so I took the opportunity to visit the temple in the evening.
As I walked up the road leading to the entrance of the temple, I saw many stalls selling food, beverages, sweets, flowers, religious items, music and other merchandise. Welfare bodies also set up stalls for devotees to make their donations. Buddhist flags were hoisted everywhere. The atmosphere was carnival-like and festive.
There were a lot of people inside the temple courtyard – devotees and non-devotees like me who are just curious to see the Wesak festivities. Devotees offered flowers, candles and joss sticks as a form of respect and gratitude to Buddha for his life and teachings. Prayers were carried out and sutras chanted in unison by monks in saffron robes.
Prayers and blessings by monks in the The Main Shrine Hall
The temple grounds also have Bodhi trees and beneath the trees are 3 big Buddha statues and altars. The trees were originated from the sapling of the sacred Bodhi tree in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. Devotees also like to pray and meditate here as the atmosphere around the Bodhi trees is very cooling and calming.
Every year Buddhist Maha Vihara holds a light and float procession at night, and the procession usually travels from the temple through the city centre. There were floats organized by the temple and other Buddhist associations in Kuala Lumpur, and floats from other countries such as Nepal and Myanmar. The floats were beautifully decorated and colourfully lit bearing images of Buddha.
Are you planning a trip to Kuala Lumpur soon? How about booking your accommodation here?
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