Offerings are made at an altar to celebrate Buddha's birthday.
Group plans celebration of Buddha’s birthday
The Chinese Buddhist community will celebrate the birthday of Buddha next Saturday with festivities all day at the Chinatown Cultural Plaza, 100 N. Beretania St.
The sponsors are offering prizes in a competition intended to bring community participation, particularly by youths, into the annual religious observance, said Shirley Lum, spokeswoman for the Hawaii Buddhist Cultural Society.
Thursday is the deadline for entries in contests calling for art and writing depicting Buddhist themes. They should be submitted to the society's office on the second floor of the shopping plaza. Call 545-1183 for information.
» Drawings or paintings must be on white paper 16 by 20 inches in size. Entries will be judged in categories for children 12 and younger, and for youths from 13 to 18 years old.
» Essays are sought on the spiritual journey as a Buddhist, with possible themes of compassion, service, love, humility, respect. There is a 1,000-word limit for writers from 13 to 17 years of age, 1,500 words for people 18 and older.
Prizes will be a $200 U.S. savings bond for first place, $150 bond for second place, $100 bond for third place.
The celebration Saturday will begin with a 9 a.m. parade. All events are open to the public.
A statue of the baby Buddha is traditionally bathed with water or tea in the observance of the birth 2,500 years ago of the Indian prince who became Shakyamuni Buddha. Participants may bath the statue and make offerings throughout the morning.
Buddhist relics will be on display in the Fo Gyang Shan temple on the second floor of the shopping plaza. The pearl-like granules are the residue of an enlightened teacher after cremation.
Lum said the Hawaii Buddhist Cultural Society will add a community service element to this year's festivities because "there are many Chinatown people who don't have medical and social services." Blood pressure tests, screening for diabetes and other diseases, and booths offering information on health care, social services, legal services, immigration and college education will be open from 2 to 5 p.m.
Tutoring in meditation will be offered from 5 to 7 p.m. in the temple.
The event is free and open to the public.