Hanamatsuri Week culminates Sunday

A week of spiritual activities, celebrations and festivities on Kaua‘i highlights Hanamatsuri Week through Sunday.

A proclamation presented to ministers of the Kaua‘i Buddhist Council by Kaua‘i Mayor Bryan Baptiste last Thursday made the week official.

Hanamatsuri celebrates the birth of Guatama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, and is celebrated annually on April 8.

The week will culminate with a celebration service starting at 9:30 a.m. Sunday at the Kaua‘i Veterans Center on Kapule Highway in Lihu‘e.

Randy Hirokawa, Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo will deliver the keynote speech at the celebration where Buddhists from around the island will gather at the veterans center.

Hirokawa was born and grew up in Hanapepe.

The birth of the Buddha took place about 2,500 years ago in Nepal in a floral setting at a place known as Lumbini Garden.

Attendees to the April 8 service will be greeted by a hanamido, or symbolic representation of Lumbini Garden, with flowers surrounding the statue of the infant Buddha.

Traditionally, attendees take a moment to pour sweet tea, representing the gentle rain that was falling when the Buddha was born, over the statue that sits in a pool of tea.

Buddha Day, or Hanamatsuri, is recognized in the state of Hawai‘i as a religious holiday proclaiming peace and harmony throughout the world, states a press release from the Kaua‘i Buddhist Council.

“The infant Buddha’s birth brought forth to the world the teaching of compassion, joy, peace and oneness to all of mankind,” the release states.

Following the Hanamatsuri service, a program of songs and ukulele music will fill the center courtesy of the West Kaua‘i Hongwanji and the Lihu‘e Hongwanji led by Gladys Fujiuchi.

Baptiste said Buddhism is one of the world’s major religions and has played an important positive role in the development of the state of Hawai‘i and the island of Kaua‘i for more than 100 years.

Buddhism teaches its followers to attain spiritual enlightenment and that proper thought will lead to proper words and actions.

For more information, contact any of the nine Buddhist churches that make up the Kaua‘i Buddhist Council, or simply show up on April 8.

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