Buddhists light up the Shepparton night sky

By John Lewis

Lanterns will once again light up the Shepparton night sky this weekend as the Buddhist Association of the Goulburn Valley celebrates Vesak Day.

Association founding president Sam Atukorala said millions of Buddhists worldwide celebrated the annual event, an officially recognised United Nations observance that commemorated the birth, enlightenment (Nirvana), and death (Parinirvana) of Buddhism founder Gautama Buddha.

Mr Atukorala said Vesak was the most important Buddhist Festival held on the full moon of the ancient lunar month of Vesakha, which usually fell in May annually.

It is celebrated particularly in Sri Lanka, India, Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan, Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia and Myanmar.

Mr Atukorala invited the Goulburn Valley community to join in Saturday’s celebrations in central Shepparton.

He said the association celebrated its first Vesak Day event in 2015 supported by Greater Shepparton City Council, Ethnic Council of Shepparton, People Supporting People, Shepparton Interfaith Network, and the local Buddhist community.

For the fifth consecutive year, Vesak Day will be celebrated at Shepparton’s Queen’s Gardens, on Saturday from 5.30pm to 8pm.