Every culture more than a few degrees north or south of the equator has a spring festival. If you grew up in, say, a christian household that means Easter, with it's odd mix of old European pagan fertility symbols (the bunny, eggs and maypole) and the crucifixion story from the bible.
For Japanese Buddhists, and adherents to that tradition here in America, Buddha's Birthday, is celebrated on or around April or May 8th. Traditional activities include the decoration of a small temple which houses a baby buddha statue, which is then bathed in sweet tea. The heart sutra is chanted the story of buddha's birth is read aloud.
I got to do all this for the first time, at San Francisco Zen Center, on April 9th, 2011. I'm a member there and a follower of the Ino's Blog, who posts regularly on life as a resident and meditation hall manager. I've really enjoyed having a view in on the day to day life of a resident, and though it would be interesting to chronicle my involvement. So here we are.