There are a number of Buddhist festivals celebrated throughout the year, of which the most important is the commemoration of Sakyamuni Buddha, the founder of Buddhism. There are two days to be honored and the dates are based on the Chinese Lunar calendar: Sakyamuni Buddha’s Birthday (8 April) and Sakyamuni Buddha’s Enlightenment Day (8 December).
Sakyamuni Buddha’s Birthday is also called the Bathing Buddha Festival. According to legend, there were many auspicious signs on the day he was born. One of the miraculous phenomena was he walked seven steps forward and at each step, a lotus flower sprang up from the ground. With one arm raised upward and one finger pointed downward, he then declared: “Above heaven and on earth, I’m the supreme; and unique”. Two dragons appeared in the sky, gently spurting two streams of purified water down, one warm and one cool, to bathe the prince. Thereafter, when people celebrate the Buddha’s birthday, they use fragrant water to bathe the Buddha statue. This ritual symbolises the purification of our mind, signifying that it is easy to wash away our external impurities, however it is difficult to remove which is in our mind.