佛诞节 (Fódànjié), literally “Buddha’s Birthday”, is celebrated on different days all over the Buddhist world - and today in China! It marks the birth of Siddharta Gautama, the sage whose teachings form the basis of Buddhism.
The central ritual is the washing of the baby Buddha - a statue - which both commemorates the birth itself, and symbolises cleansing of the soul for those who do the washing. The statue usually has one hand pointing to the sky, and one to the earth, to symbolize the connection between the two.
Most Chinese don’t celebrate Buddha’s birthday directly, but many know somebody who does, and the festivities are widely covered in the news. Buddhist temples host festivities with lanterns, incense, and food.
16% of Chinese identified as buddhists in 2014. Buddhist traditions have influenced the culture for 2000 years, and Buddha’s birthday is a public holiday in Hong Kong.
Happy 2,581st birthday! Baidu Baike