Goddess of Mercy’s Birthday - 2nd of 3 Birthdays

The Birthday of the Goddess of Mercy or Kuan Yin happens three times a year. The first birthday falls on the 19th day of the 2nd Chinese lunar month. The second birthday falls on the 19th day of the 6th Chinese lunar month and the third birthday falls on the 19th day of the 9th Chinese lunar months. These dates denote Kuan Yin’s birthday, her initiation and the event of her attaining the state of Nirvana.

The Goddess of Mercy or Kuan Yin is a Bodhissattva or the enlightened being who hears the sufferings of the world and reaches out in compassion. Boddhisattvas are enlightened beings who live in this world, foregoing nirvana to help others and guide them to the pure land. Kuan Yin is revered by the Buddhists and Taoists.

The 19th day of the 6th month in the Chinese lunar calendar is the birth of Kuan Yin as a monk or nun who dedicated his / her life to Buddhism. In the Lotus Sutra, Kuan Yin is believed to be able to assume any gender or other being to best convey the message of compassion and to answer to those who call out to her in their sufferings. However, a female Bodhisattva has been the settled image of Kuan Yin in China since the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279) as people like the feminine, mother-like image to be the protector of all human beings, the one who eases suffering.

Buddhist temples will hold major observances, which include burning of incense, lighting candles, chanting and making offerings.