Parlor Spider...Step In, Little Fly

Insightful thoughts and/or rants from atop the soapbox from one who wishes to share the "right" opinion with everyone.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Now, Blow Out the Candles!

Just how much cake will we need?

As far as I know, I never had a birthday party as a youngster...I didn't get a gift until I was in college, and that was from someone not related to me. Birthdays were just not a big deal though I never understood why. Of course, once I figured out that gifts and cake were involved (especially cake), I made sure that every one was celebrated. Not that hundreds of people came with flowers and dumped tea on me...but then, I'm not a reincarnation of Buddha. His is an interesting story.
I bring this up because we've either JUST celebrated Buddha's birthday, or it's coming up this month...or, maybe, next month. It depends. At any rate, the celebration can go on for days or weeks, and people celebrate with food and presentation of flowers to the temple in commemoration of Buddha's birth in a grove of blossoming trees. There is also the tradition of pouring water or tea over the standing statue of the baby Buddha (right hand extended upward/left hand extended downward to indicate a joining of heaven and earth). That's the easy part, Deciding when to do it gets complicated.
The short form: Buddha's birthday is celebrated on the 1st full moon day of the 6th month of the Buddhist lunar new year (the 4th month in the Chinese calendar) except in years in which there is an extra full moon, then it's celebrated in the 7th month. Generally, that date occurs on April 8...though there are exceptions...full moons notwithstanding. In Tibet, the date is usually one month later, and there are other complications.
Some Buddhist sects, like the Theravada and the Tibetans, combine the three major events of Buddha's life (birth, enlightenment and death) into one holiday (like those who have a birthday the week of Christmas around here). Others, like the Mahayana, celebrate those events separately...meaning even more celebrations, more food, more flowers, and more fun.
Who knew something as simple as a birthday could be so complicated?
Anyway, Happy Birthday, big guy, in case I missed it or will miss it later.
It never hurts to hedge one's bets!


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