Buddhists across Asia mark Vesak with prayers, processions

Published: May 11, 2017
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Buddhist believers carrying lanterns march during a Lotus Lantern parade in celebration of the upcoming birthday of Buddha in Seoul, South Korea April 29, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji. PHOTO: REUTERS

Buddhist believers carrying lanterns march during a Lotus Lantern parade in celebration of the upcoming birthday of Buddha in Seoul, South Korea April 29, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji. PHOTO: REUTERS

Buddhists across Asia commemorated the birth, enlightenment and death of Buddha in Vesak celebrations this week.

This year, the United Nations held its special Vesak Day celebrations in Sri Lanka, where a colourful lantern festival was organised with moving light displays and stalls to hand out free food and drinks to visitors.

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“This has given the opportunity not only to Buddhists, but all the people of the country to showcase how we celebrate Vesak in this country,” said Jagath Sumathipala, vice president of the World Buddhist Congress.

In other countries such as Myanmar, Thailand, Laos and Nepal, Buddhists lit candles and butter lamps while offering prayers at temples and shrines.

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In Singapore, monks and devotees took part in a procession in which they prostrated themselves on the ground after every three steps, while in India, people dipped themselves in the Ganges river.

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