ClockWednesday, 31/05/2023 07:38

Visiting Hue on Vesak day

TTH.VN - For tourists from all over the world and Hue people, Vesak day (Buddha’s birthday) is an annual event as well as an indispensable spiritual practice with a variety of celebration activities.

Colorful lanterns to celebrate Vesak 2567Seven lotus lanterns launched onto the Huong River to celebrate Buddha's birthday

Local residents performing the Bathing of the Buddha Ritual. Photo: Vietnam Buddhist Sangha's Executive Board in Thua Thien Hue Province 

 The bustling atmosphere

On the last days of May, seven giant lotus-shaped lanterns were launched onto the Perfume River and lit up, which signaled the coming of another Vesak day for Hue people and Buddhists of the Ancient Capital. Lanterns, welcome banners and Buddhist flags were interspersed with the national flag throughout the streets, making the celebration atmosphere of Hue people more exciting than ever. Pagodas and monasteries were also rushing to complete decorating of the altar, embellishing the Buddha statue and hanging up flags, banners, pennons and lanterns in preparation for the Buddha’s birthday Buddha Calendar 2567- Solar Calendar 2023.

Ms. Nguyen Thi Hoan, a tourist from Ho Chi Minh City, eagerly shared that visiting Hue on Vesak day was a memorable experience for Buddhists like her. It is expected that Ms. Hoan will stay in Hue until the end of Vesak week so that she can participate in many activities to celebrate the great holiday.

With the Buddhist family of Mr. Hoang Van Huy (a resident in Truong An ward, Hue City), after several years of being affected by the pandemic, the celebration atmosphere of the Vesak day has returned to being as bustling as before since the past two years. This year, many meaningful celebration programs promise to attract a large number of Buddhists to participate

According to the Provincial Executive Board of Vietnam Buddhist Sangha, the year of 2023 will witness the implementation of the Resolution of the 9th National Buddhist Congress (2022-2027 tenure) for the first time. Accordingly, the 60th anniversary of the Dharma tribulation and the Bodhisattva Thich Quang Duc who committed self-immolation (1963-2023) will be celebrated.

 The Bathing of the Buddha Ritual being performed at the exhibition themed “The fire of compassion shines on the Buddha’s history”. Photo: The Provincial Executive Board of the Vietnamese Buddhist Sangha

Accordingly, many activities will be organized to celebrate Vesak week, spreading throughout Nghinh Luong Dinh, Lieu Quan, Dieu De (a National Pagoda), Tu Dam Communal House, etc., in which the main programs include the lighting of the seven giant lotus-shaped lanterns on the Perfume River, the photo exhibition themed “The fire of compassion shines on the Buddha’s history”, the vegetarian gastronomy, the flower car parade around Hue City and surrounding areas, Moc Duc ceremony, the procession of Buddha and the official celebration of Vesak day at Tu Dam Communal Pagoda, etc.

It is notable to mention the seminar to celebrate the “60th anniversary of the Bodhisattva Thich Quang Duc who committed self-immolation” be organized by the Provincial Executive Board of the Vietnamese Buddhist Sangha. The seminar welcomed the speeches of Zen Virtues, as well as opinions from scholars and researchers focusing on the 1963 legal crisis, with the focus being on the self-immolation incident of the Bodhisattva Thich Quang Duc. The comments shed light on the values and historical lessons of the Buddhist movement in 1963 and drew lessons in the cause of spreading the Buddha Dharma.

Helping the disadvantaged

Besides religious activities and festivals, Vesak day is also an occasion for people to join hands in social charity activities. This year, the Provincial Executive Board of Vietnam Buddhist Sangha continues to focus on social charity work, calling on monks, nuns, and laymen from all over the world to faithfully contribute and make offerings to help the disadvantaged, in compliance with the national Dharma Virtues.

One of the new features of this year’s Vesak day is the Vegetarian Buffet Program to raise funds for charity, which takes place from May 31st to June 2nd. There will be 24 restaurants, hotels and Dong Ba market small businesses participating in this program, with more than 50 vegetarian dishes with traditional Hue flavors for local diners as well as tourists from all over the world to enjoy.

With the ticket price of 100,000 VND, all the funds collected from this activity as well as from the contributions of the sponsors will be donated to the poor people and patients, as well as the disadvantaged by the Charity Committee of the Provincial Vietnam Buddhist Sangha.

Venerable Thich Hue Trong, Standing Deputy Head of the Charity Committee of the Provincial Vietnam Buddhist Sangha, said that the Committee would also implement humanitarian charity programs and social security for the disadvantaged, the disabled and patients during the Vesak week.

It is expected that the program will award about 500 presents in districts, towns and cities in the province with a total value of 300 million VND.

In addition, monasteries, monks and nuns, as well as Buddhists will also actively organize many visits to give presents to disadvantaged families to show the compassionate spirit of Buddhism.

Ms. Nguyen Thi Be (a resident in Thuy Xuan ward, Hue City) shared that disadvantaged people like her welcomed the visit to give encouragement words and presents from many Buddhist monks and families every Buddha’s birthday anniversary.

After the festival, local people are eagerly preparing to celebrate the incoming Buddha’s birthday. For the Ancient Capital, the Buddha’s birthday is not only a festival imbued with cultural and spiritual values, but also a special holiday for every Hue resident.

Story: Minh Nguyen
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