Photo courtesy of Indochina Odyssey Tours -

Birthdays are usually steeped in traditions with presents and cake being the main focus, for the Buddha however, the traditions are slightly different.

This year marks the Buddha’s 2600th birthday and with his teachings being described as “timeless and universal”, it’s hard to deny the need to celebrate.

Born on the 8th day of the 4th month (8th April), the Prince’s enlightening birth is celebrated every year in the traditional Buddhist way. The celebrations include a blessing ceremony aimed at world peace, a continual flow of offerings – floral, light and fruit – and the most honoured celebration of the weekend; the bathing of the Buddha.

The bathing ceremony is a strong-held tradition for the Buddhist religion. The Nan Tien Temple describes the ceremony as a way of “getting rid of the defilements of greed, hatred and ignorance so that our body, speech and mind may remain pure.”

It is believed that by pouring holy water onto a statue of the deity and praying in a sincere fashion, that the karmas of the assembly will be restored.

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PHOTOS: Ben Neutze

VIDEO: Amanda Pappas

WORDS: Brad Bulger