Today is Vesak Day, one of Singapores National Holidays. Theoretically it’s a day off from work for everyone (sadly, Ravi’s team is working on a project and they all went into the office, so he’s missing out) and a special holiday if you’re Buddhist.
According to a Festivals of Singapore page,
The festival celebrated with great ceremonial ritual by Buddhists is Vesak Day, which commemorates the birth and enlightenment of Buddha and his entry into Nirvana.
The day starts with chanting of the sutras by saffronclad monks, while devotees visit the temples to pray and meditate and to make offerings. Acts of generosity known as dana are observed by Buddhist organizations and temples. These include the freeing of caged birds and animals, visiting and giving alms to the poor and needy, while some Buddhist youths organize mass blood donation at hospitals. The celebration concludes with a candlelit procession through the streets. Observers as well as devotees are welcome to join in the celebration at Buddhist temples.
Sadly, I can’t tell you about any of this firsthand as I am sick. Maybe next year.