Buddhist Mother Festival gets off to joyous start

by Nguyen Thuy, Translated by Luu Thi Hong, Thanh Nien News, Aug 24, 2007

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam -- The Buddhist Mother Festival (Le Vu lan) began Friday in Ho Chi Minh City with a clutch of events to honor Buddhism and Vietnamese mothers.

The festival, which falls in the middle of the seventh month in the lunar calendar, opened with a mass worship day at Pho Quang Pagoda in Tan Binh district, with devotees wearing red roses on their chests if their mothers were still alive and white flowers otherwise.

Other pagodas around the city too have been holding prayers.

A charity music show, Vang trang me (Mother – moon), was held at the Ben Thanh Theatre.

Calligraphy and paintings exhibitions on Buddhism and the love for Vietnamese mothers are scheduled for Aug. 25-29.

Superior Buddhist monk Thich Thien Bao, head of the city Buddhism Association’s Culture and Entertainment Board, said the exhibitions would display a giant prayer book titled Bao phu mau an (Repaying our parents).

Prayers and charity offerings to the poor will be held at the Suoi Tien Cultural Park in district 9.

Le Vu lan, an occasion for children to express their devotion to their parents, is also an occasion to enjoy vegetarian food. Many city restaurants will have vegetarian buffets during the month.

Earlier, the Vietnamese Institute for Buddhism and the Institute for Buddhism Study had organized an international seminar on The role of Vietnam in East Asian Buddhism and the Initiative of Cultural E-Map at Vinh Nghiem Pagoda on Aug. 21-23.