One of the most spiritual and unique festivals celebrated in Hong Kong is the Birthday of Lord Buddha, also called the ‘Buddha Bathing Festival’. Held on the eighth day of the fourth Lunar month (28 April 2012), this is one of the many traditional Chinese festivals which form part of Hong Kong’s Cultural Celebrations. At Buddhist temples all over the territory, devotees gather to pay their respects to this revered deity with a ‘Bathing the Buddha’ ceremony. One of the biggest and grandest ceremonies is held at the Po Lin Monastery on Lantau Island, home of the Giant Buddha.
Worshippers pay respects to the Buddha by bathing a small statue of him. According to legend, nine dragons sprayed water to bathe the baby Buddha at birth. To commemorate this, worshippers take part in a unique bathing ritual. It is believed to aid in the purification of one’s soul. Another ritual involves eating green cookies. Eating these bitter cookies signifies that once you have eaten something bitter, better things are to follow.