Buddhas, Bells, and Bean Buns

When the people of Brisbane have a party for Buddhas birthday it sure is spectacular.
To start with the scene could not have been more colourful with swathes of pink, orange, and purple fabrics, as a backdrop and thousands, (yes thousands) of red lanterns hanging from each entrance and along each path leading to the event.

There were five long tables, each higher than the last all piled high with the freshest apples, oranges, and other colourful offerings. Presiding over this opulence, were three large white meditating statues of Buddha and two warrior like statues.

As Phil and I arrived into this palette of gorgeousness, guests were invited to take up a candle and stand on the forecourt as part of the light offering ceremony.
As a non-Buddhist and someone who did not hear the announcement and understand the event, I elected to take a seat alongside the activity and watch as if I was visiting royalty. It gave me a great angle for photos but with only my phone camera, the pictures could have been better. Sorry.

Later I learned that 200,000 people who took part in the celebrations, and what we attended, was a candle light offering.

Six monks in mustard robes led the Abbottess into the arena along a narrow red carpeted path and then they began to chant. Hundreds of people stood with their candles and held then high at strategic points in the program. The chanting continued along with the pulse of a lone drum and the odd bell.
I sat in awe and watched the joy on some of the faces and thought how wonderful it is that we can take part in an event like this, no matter what we believe. I think it is important, maybe even crucial, to recognise and value the beliefs of other people.
Caught up in the excitement of it all I was tempted to cry. Like my mother, I tear up at parades and happy events, just as often as I do at sad events.
Afterwards, Phil and I spent some time looking along the food stalls and considering what we would try. Everything looked so exotic and interesting. I didn’t know where to start until I saw some steamed bread buns that looked familiar. I persuaded Phil to try one with me and told him it was usually filled with pork or other meat.
It tasted bland.
It turns out that it was a vegetarian event and our buns were filled with beans. I was surprised but I didn’t mind. I would rather eat a bean but I did not like than something boring. It was an exciting night out and like most of my events, it was completely free.
Have you been to any exciting free events lately?

To learn more about house sitting, or some of the other free events I have been to, along with fun house sitting stories and tales of my adventures around Australia, see my books at (Australians) or (International).

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