KENDAL Mayor Councillor Douglas Rathbone paid a special visit to the Buddhist Group of Kendal on the date of an important celebration.

The Buddhist Group (Theravada) marked the BGKT Vesak celebrations, at Kendal Unitarian Chapel Hall on Wednesday May 26.

The festival of Vesak commemorates the Birth, Enlightenment and Passing Away of the Buddha.

The celebration included a Puja religious ceremony which was conducted under Covid safe regulations.

This did however mean that the traditional dana (sharing of food) did not take place this year.

People also participated from home instead of joining in person to accommodate for social distancing.

The BGKT was able to include the beautiful Vesak lantern that had been made by Duncan Fisher, one of its members back in 2010.

It was first presented as traditional decorated lantern to the group at their recent Vesak celebration held 11 years ago at the United Reformed Church in Kendal.

Mayor Rathbone said: "I went to the ceremony as deputy Mayor a few years ago, and they couldn't put it on last year, but this year I was honoured to attend as Mayor.

"It is a celebration of the Birth, Enlightenment and Passing Away of the Buddha.

"The ceremony itself only had six people, and sadly this year we could not have the meal that we had last time.

"It was great to be involved, personally and spiritually. It's great to see the diverse life styles of Kendal and in the future, I hope to see the Council coming out to the community, rather than the community coming to the Council. It was an honour and privilege."

Kendal Buddhism Group stated: “The Mayor or Deputy Mayor of Kendal usually attends our Vesak celebration. In some years this is the first activity they attend as Mayor or Deputy Mayor.

"We are delighted to have Civic support for our celebration. BGKT Buddhist Group of Kendal (Theravada) has had an excellent relationship with KTC Kendal Town Council for many years.”

“We see Vesak as the most important Buddhist festival. We celebrate this festival in Kendal every year.

"Covid regulations meant that the celebration was limited this year without being able to offer refreshments.

"We are delighted to know that we are part of a community of Buddhists across the world who are celebrating Vesak on the same day. This brings us closer together.”