East Asian cultures celebrate the birth of Prince Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, on the 8th day of the 4th month in the Chinese lunar calendar. The birth of the Supreme Buddha is thought to be 563 BCE and marks the beginning of Buddhist tradition.
In Amsterdam, New York, the World Peace and Health Organization celebrated Buddha’s Birthday on May 17, 2013, at the Goddess of Mercy Temple, The Five Buddha Temple and the Supreme Western Shrine Temple. This blogger was graciously given the opportunity to photograph the lavish and detailed ceremony and performances from the vantage point of the balcony at the Goddess of Mercy Temple. The photos, equally lavish and detailed, may take a while to load, though they are well worth the wait. The ceremony began with a procession of Buddhist Monks singing and chanting as they encircled the interior of the temple. This was followed by greetings to and a message of religious harmony and peace given by Holy Buddhist Master Ziguang Shang Shi. There was also song, dance, Tai Chi, opera, Chinese lions, an American Marine/Buddhist monk singing in Chinese and two Mormon missionaries singing Mormon hymns. After the conclusion of the Goddess of Mercy ceremony, the celebrants were invited to the Five Buddha Temple where they participated in the symbolic bathing of the Buddha.