For Hue people, Buddha’s birthday is considered as one of the major festivals, so many families make early preparations. Since the first days of the fourth lunar month, people have been buying offerings and preparing their family’s Buddha altar solemnly.
Many families have built lotus shaped lamp support in front of their yards. In addition to roads to pagodas, people hung the Buddhist flags everywhere, decorated the built lotus shaped lamp supports and five-colour lanterns to pray for the peace.
Kim Long Street along the banks of Huong (Perfume) River to Thien Mu Pagoda, the slope in Dien Bien Phu Street leading to Tu Dam Pagoda and Dieu De Pagoda viewed from the Dong Ba river wharf are so familiar to those who were born and raised in Hue. The pagodas in the villages and Buddhist halls in the suburbs have also become a part of the memories for people who have travelled far away.
The urban and rural people have their own style of going to pagodas. However, in general, they have always maintained their respect to the Buddha, so there is no jostling or confusion. Everyone can yield to each other to maintain the tranquillity inside the main halls and outside the pagodas.
The procession of flowers is usually held on the 14th day of the fourth lunar month. Many seniors said that this ritual during the Buddha’s birthday celebration has existed for a long time and passed down continuously. Although the form of procession has changed annually, the basic rites and the local people’s respect remain unchanged.
Due to the impact of COVID-19 pandemic, the activities in celebration of the Buddha’s birthday are being held on a small scale to limit crowds. Accordingly, the monks and nuns will go to the pagodas in different times. In addition to praying for blessings and peace of their families and the country, the local people have contributed aids to support people who are living in difficult circumstances in residential areas under blockade.