Happy birthday Buddha!

The annual celebration of Buddha’s Day and Multicultural Festival is back and is once again being held in Federation Square.

This is the 22nd year that the city commemorates the Buddha’s birthday and celebrate Melbourne’s multicultural and multi-faith community.

Organised by Fo Guang Shan Melbourne and Buddha’s Light International Association of Victoria (BLIAV), the festival will run for two days on Saturday, May 20 and Sunday, May 21.

There will be a variety of events on offer over the weekend for all ages to enjoy, including the Baby Blessing Ceremony on Sunday from 1pm - 3pm at Deakin Edge.

Children under six are eligible to take part in the ceremony where Venerables of the International Buddhist College of Victoria Inc will bless them under the protection and guidance of Buddha.

The Baby Blessing Ceremony will be followed by the Future Within Thy Hands ceremony, a special highlight event this year.

The Future Within Thy Hands Ceremony is based on a traditional Chinese custom where children are presented with an assortment of items and are asked to pick the one that piques their interest the most.

It is believed this item can determine the child’s future interests, capabilities and career path.

The Baby Blessing Ceremony costs $25. The Future Within Thy Hands Ceremony is optional and comes at a cost of $10. All families wanting to participate must register their children online at www.buddhaday.org.au

Take part in a tradition that dates back to the Three Kingdoms Period of 220 - 280 AD with Bathing The Buddha.

As tradition dictates, a flower garden is arranged to represent the Garden of Lumbini, Buddha’s birth-place.

Participants must kneel before the altar, fill the ladle with purified water and pour it over a small statue of Buddha three times. With the first pour, participants must chant “May I eliminate all evil thoughts”, with the second, “May I cultivate good deeds” and with the third, “May I help save all living beings”.

Bathing The Buddha will be held for the entirety of the festival, from 10am – 7pm Saturday and 10am – 5pm on Sunday at the Buddha Stage in the square.

To celebrate the multiculturalism of our fine city, the Harmony Under One Sky stage will showcase music, song, dance and performances from a range of cultures.

Aboriginal, West African drum, traditional Indonesian dance, Melbourne gospel choir and Southern Flamenco performances are just some of the acts taking place over both days from 12pm onwards.

Relax and prepare yourself for the coming week with Guided Buddhist Ch’an Meditation.

The session will teach you core meditation techniques as well as the basics of sitting and walking meditation.

Guided Buddhist Ch’an Meditation will be held on Sunday, May 21 from 4pm – 5pm.

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