After the Easter eggs were found and devoured – many in secret – families of many faiths made their way to the Nan Tien Temple yesterday to celebrate one of the most important occasions on the Buddhist calendar.
With Wollongong’s Crown Street Mall refurbishment currently under way, the temple’s Reverend Miao You said this year’s Buddha’s Birthday Cultural Festival celebrations were relocated to the temple and turned into a weekend of celebrations.
It proved a popular move as thousands of visitors, most making the trip from Sydney, poured through the temple’s gates to take part in the ‘‘oldest birthday party in the world’’.
Yesterday, visitors took part in a multifaith prayer, viewed a re-creation of the Lumbini Garden, the birthplace of Buddha, took part in a bathing-the-Buddha ceremony and watched a traditional lion dance.
The day also saw the official launch of the an international multimedia art exhibition, titled Through These Doors: Connecting Past and Present, East and West.
The exhibition documents the spread of Buddhism from India to China and the many historic celebrations of the Buddha’s birthday that have taken place in different places throughout the world.
The exhibition, which will continue at the temple until May 5, also featured a selection of works from local artists.
Venerable Jue Wei said although based on academic material, the exhibition was aimed at all age groups.
‘‘Everyone from academics to art lovers, to children and families wanting a culturally engaging and educational day out will get something out of this exhibition,’’ she said.