The smell of incense and the warming glow of fairy lights greeted those who gathered at Queen’s Gardens on Saturday night for Vesak Day, an annual Buddhist holiday.
Hosted by the Buddhist Association of the Goulburn Valley, guests braved the chilly night to take part in a blessing from monk Phra Ronrawee of the Dhammakaya Temple in Melbourne.
The blessing was followed by addresses from Greater Shepparton City Council Mayor Kim O’Keeffe, Member for Northern Victoria Wendy Lovell and State Member for Shepparton Suzanna Sheed.
‘‘It is fantastic that we are able to appreciate and take part in this event,’’ Cr O’Keeffe said.
‘‘It’s a real testament to the diversity in this community that we can hold event like this,’’ Ms Sheed said.
‘‘There is always a wonderful feeling at these festivals.’’
Buddhist Association of the Goulburn Valley president Sam Atukorala thanked all for attending, including Victoria Police multicultural liaison officers and local not-for-profit People Supporting People, who provided food and drinks after the formalities.
Mr Atukorala also thanked the Shepparton English Language Centre, Bourchier Street Primary School and Arthur Dickmann Children’s Centre for their help making lanterns for the event.