Monday, 19 May 2008


Monday is a public holiday in Singapore, Vesak Day, (also known as Wesak) is the "Buddha's birthday"; it's not really his birthday, more a combination of his birth, subsequent enlightenment and final nirvana (achieved by death). Tagging the celebration as a birthday should be considered a Western cultural influence and possibly a simplification of the complexity of Indian subcontinent's spiritual narratives.

Travelers may face congestion with the ICA warning on Thursday to expect the two border checkpoints over to Malaysia to be extra busy as many people head off home or for a short break over the long weekend. On the plus side, the trains will run all night Sat and Sun.

Singapore and Malaysia set the date as the 15th day of the 4th lunar month, and since Chinese New Year was 7th Feb 2008, so Vesak is ~22nd May 2008. In keeping with the Buddha's teachings and way of life, Vesak is perhaps the quietest of the public holidays as Buddhists don't go around setting fire to things, letting off fireworks, having lavish parties or other such excesses. Instead, there will be events at temples, charitable works, readings of sutras, modest vegetarian meals and compassionate behavior. Ommmmmmmmmmmm.