Tag Archives: Lantern Festival

Celebrating Buddha’s Birthday with the Lotus Lantern Festival

The Lotus Lantern Festival in Seoul was quite the celebration. For more than one week leading up to Buddha’s Birthday, which is a national holiday in Korea, the city hosted numerous Buddhist events and decorated its sidewalks with bright, colorful lanterns. The traditional lanterns are made with hanji, a tough, Korean paper made out of the inner bark or fiber of mulberry trees.

First, we witnessed the massive gathering in Gwanghwamun Square for the Conference for World Peace and the Reunification of Korea. It was organized by the Great Equal Assembly of Ganhwa Seon — part of the Jogye Order, the country’s largest Buddhist sect, which practices Seon (aka Zen) buddhism. If you look closely in one of the photos, you can see the large group of monks sitting right in front of the stage.

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Seoul Lantern Festival and Other Weekend Fun

There’s definitely plenty to do in Seoul on weekends. Friday night we were already thinking of checking out the pedestrian area along Cheonggyecheon Stream, which runs for about 5.8 km through the middle of a major busy avenue, and then I read in the latest issue of 10 Magazine that the annual Seoul Lantern Festival was currently taking place. Perfect! (Note: 10 Magazine is really great, with info on upcoming events, nightlife, restaurants, arts, culture and entertainment.) It was pretty crowded, but still fun to see so many colorful lanterns lighting up the night. It went on for miles, so we didn’t walk the whole thing, but here’s a glimpse (sorry some of these are dark, it’s tricky getting an iPhone camera to adjust just right). Oh yes, and it was FREE:

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