Thousands flock to Nan Tien Temple for Buddha's birthday: photos

Chocolate lovers were not the only ones celebrating this weekend, as thousands flocked to Berkeley's Nan Tien Temple to observe Buddha's birthday.

The three-day celebration - which marks one of the most important occasions on the Buddhist calendar - included vegetarian food stalls, origami, calligraphy writing, art exhibitions and information about the spiritual teacher's life.

"The reason we celebrate Buddha's birth is it brings to mind the Buddhist teachings, the importance of stopping all of the evils, practising the goodness and purifying our minds - these are very important aspects of Buddhism," the temple's Venerable Zhi Li said.

Families of all faiths poured into temple grounds to enjoy the cultural festival, many learning of Buddha's birth through colourful sculpture depiction in the Lumbini garden.

Others headed to the main shrine for the bathing-of-the-Buddha ceremony, where people can cleanse themselves of negativity.

"You scoop the water and pour it over the left shoulder of the baby prince three times and you vow to do good deeds, say good words and think good thoughts," Venerable Li said.

"By doing this you are purifying your actions, your speech and your mind."

Buddha's actual birthday is April 8, but celebrations traditionally continue for weeks afterwards.

The temple will host more festivities in Sydney's Darling Harbour on May 10-11.

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