[box_dark]Lotus Lantern Festival | 연등축제[/box_dark]
The Lotus Lantern Festival in Seoul is an important Korean celebration held in the lead-up to Buddha’s birthday. This year it will be held the weekend of May 10–12 and feature a huge lantern parade with various traditional performances and ceremonies that you can watch or have a go at yourself.
A spectacular parade, the festival’s main attraction, will take place on Jongno on May 11, featuring a brilliant ocean of light from countless handheld lanterns and grand ornate lantern floats. Following the parade is a post-parade celebration known as Hoehyang Hanmadang. Participants and spectators come together in a spirit of dedicating one’s merits to others. Buddhist entertainers put on a show, and the audience gets into the act, dancing hand in hand.
On May 12, visitors can stroll through more than 100 booths, which will be set up along the street leading to Jogyesa Temple from Jongno. This is where you’ll be able to make your own lotus lanterns, create Buddhist art, try temple food, and strike up a conversation with a friendly monk. Some booths will be dedicated to introducing the Buddhist cultures of Tibet, Mongolia, and Southeast Asia.
Lantern exhibitions will be held at Jogyesa Temple and Cheonggyecheon Stream in downtown Seoul and Bongeunsa Temple in southern Seoul. On display will be a wide selection of exquisite and meticulously crafted lanterns made of hanji, Korean traditional handmade paper. Each lantern tells its own story with its warm, cheerful light.
The grand finale of the festival features a mini lantern parade around Insa-dong accompanied by the singing and dancing of the Lotus Lantern Performance Groups.
In commemoration of Buddha’s coming, it is worth visiting temple food restaurants in Insa-dong.
Buddhist paraphernalia shops are lined up along Insadong-gil.
T. 02-2011-1744, www.llf.or.kr
(45 Gyunji-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul | 서울시 종로구 견지동 45)
Anguk Station 안국역 (Line 3), Exit 6
Jonggak Station 종각역 (Line 1), Exit 1, 2, or 3
Samseong Station 삼성역 (Line 2), Exit 6