GEORGE TOWN: Wesak Day joy reigned throughout the evening and night here as thousands of devotees and spectators came out to witness the grand float procession.
At the Malaysian Buddhist Association (MBA) in Burmah Road yesterday, the float procession, organised by Penang Wesak Celebrations Committee, started at 7pm.
As the sun set, the 14 floats built by 29 Buddhist associations lit up to create a visual spectacle with the main float in the rear bearing a 3m-tall statue of Buddha.
An eye-catching float by Hui Yin Seh Society featured children as young as five years old singing Buddhist songs on the float decorated with lotuses and other flowers.
Society member Chuang Boon Chooi said 10 children were on the float while around 200 more were in front.
The procession passed through Pangkor Road, Kelawei Road, Bur-mah Lane, Peel Avenue, Macalister Road, Anson Road and Madras Lane before returning to MBA at around 10pm.
Before the parade began, Mahin-darama Buddhist Temple chief monk representative Ven Gathere Gnanalankara Thero led a chanting ceremony.
Penang Wesak Celebrations Com-mittee chairman Datuk Dr Loh Hock Hun said this year’s Wesak Day marked the 2,561st year of Buddha’s dispensation.
“Millions of Buddhist around the world celebrate this sacred occasion to strengthen their faith and propagate the teachings of Lord Buddha, which is aimed at leading humankind towards righteousness, goodwill, tolerance and inner peace.
“I appeal to all devotees to practise Lord Buddha’s ways of showering compassion, love, understanding and empathy on each other,” he said.
Dr Loh said the theme this year was ‘Purifying Society to the Benefit of the Nation and the People’.
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, who was present, said moderation in society was important.
“Fairness and justice to all races and religions should be practised every day,” he said.
The event also saw the presentation of RM36,000 from the Penang Wesak Celebrations Committee to four charities.
Pure Lotus Hospice of Compas-sion, National Cancer Society and Than Hsiang Buddhist Welfare Association received RM2,000 each while Kek Lok Si Charitable Medical Centre received RM30,000.