Celebrate Vesak Day by visiting these 5 stunning temples in Singapore

May 9, 2024

Vesak Day is one of the most important dates in the Buddhist calendar, as it commemorates the birth, enlightenment, and death of Siddhartha Gautama, also known as the Buddha. In 2024, this important occasion falls on Wednesday 22 May, and there are plenty of ways you can celebrate, even if you aren’t Buddhist yourself.

Read on to discover five temples you could visit in Singapore, as well as some activities you could do at home, to mark Vesak Day in 2024.

1. Visit Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery

Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery is a spiritual sanctuary set in over 75,000 square metres of land just outside Singapore. First founded in 1921, the monastery now provides a welcoming place for people from all over the world to learn about Buddha’s teaching and take part in traditional ceremonies and celebrations.

On Vesak Day, the monastery typically opens its doors to welcome visitors to take part in or witness traditional ceremonies such as the three-step, one-bow ceremony and lotus lamp offerings.

2. Learn more about Buddhism at the Buddhist Library

The Buddhist Library provides a place to learn about Buddhism through study and experience. It welcomes everyone regardless of your religion or background, and always runs a programme of workshops to mark Vesak Day.

This year, why not drop in to learn more about Buddhism. The Buddhist Library is running a full day of events that are suitable for the whole family from 8 am to 8 pm, including a guided meditation and a candlelight procession.

3. Take part in traditional rituals at the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple

One of the most popular temples in Singapore is the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple. It is said to house the canine tooth of the Buddha, hence the name. Just like the other temples in the city, there will be a full programme of events to take part in on Vesak Day, including the bathing of Prince Siddhartha.

Legend has it that, when he was born, Buddha was blessed by celestial dragons pouring water on him and his mother. Nowadays, worshippers pour fragranced water onto a statue of the baby prince to commemorate his birth.

4. Attend the animal blessing night at Thekchen Choling

Buddha taught his followers to show compassion for all living beings, so if you’re an animal lover, you might enjoy the animal blessing night at Thekchen Choling. On the eve of Vesak Day, the temple holds a special evening for worshippers to bring their pets along for a blessing from a monk.

As well as the animal blessings, you can also enjoy a host of interactive activities and learn from animal welfare charities about their important work.

The event was first run in 2022 and, due to popular demand, has returned every year since.

5. View sacred Buddhist relics at the Mangala Vihara Temple

One of the most striking things you’ll notice about the Mangala Vihara Temple is the impressive Bodhi tree that has been growing in the grounds since the temple was built in 1960. It’s an important symbol for Buddhists, as legend has it that Buddha was sitting under a Bhodi tree when he achieved true enlightenment.

Every year on Vesak Day, the temple displays the sacred “Buddha Relic” and “Sivali Relic”. These relics can only be viewed on this day and seeing them in person is believed to bring you wisdom, blessings, and protection from evil.

6. Celebrate Vesak Day in your own way

If you’d prefer to mark Vesak Day in your own way, there are a few simple things you can do to honour Buddha’s life and work.

One of the central pillars of Buddha’s teachings was to help others. So, a great way to mark Vesak Day is to volunteer for a local charity. From donating items to a charity to offering your time to support them with their work, there are lots of ways you can honour this element of Buddhism on this special day.

Additionally, though not all Buddhists are vegetarian, most will follow a vegetarian diet for the month of Vesak. So, whether you normally eat meat or not, this could be a great opportunity to try out some delicious new vegetarian recipes. You could cook up a feast with your family at home or dine at a vegetarian restaurant in your local area.

Get in touch

We help expats in Singapore to achieve their long-term goals through lifestyle financial planning. If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you manage your money and grow your wealth, please get in touch.

Either contact your financial planner directly, email us at hello@ascentawealth.com or fill in our online contact form to organise a meeting and we’ll get in touch.