Vietnam will hold the UN Vesak Day at Bai Dinh Pagoda in the northern province of Ninh Binh from May 7 to 11. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE VIETNAM BUDDHIST SANGHA
Around 10,000 people are expected to join in celebrating Buddha's birthday, known as Vesak Day, in Bai Dinh Pagoda in northern Vietnam this week.
The country will host the United Nations Days of Vesak for the second time on this occasion, from May 7 to 11.
A wide range of activities, including a Buddhist art exhibition, a flower parade, traditional art performances and and a candle-lighting ceremony for peace, will be held in Bai Dinh Pagoda, located in Ninh Binh Province.
The Buddha-bathing ritual, where water is poured onto a statue of the Buddha, will also be a highlight of the event.
The organizers said the celebrations are expected to attract 10,000 people, including 1,500 Buddhist leaders, scholars and followers from around 100 countries and territories worldwide.
The Vesak celebration would give Vietnam a chance to promote its culture and people to the world as well as to boost its spiritual tourism, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has said.
Vietnam first hosted the UN Days of Vesak in Hanoi in 2008.
In 1999 the UN instituted an international Vesak Day to acknowledge the contribution that Buddhism, one of the oldest religions in the world, has made for over 2500 years. This day is commemorated annually at UN Headquarters.
The Buddha, also known as Siddhartha Gautama, is generally thought to have been born in about the sixth century BC in Lumbini, Nepal.
Buddhists celebrate the Buddha's three most important life stages on Vesak: Birth, Enlightenment and Death, which traditionally are said to all have happened on the same day of the calendar throughout his life.