|Lotus Lantern Festival
Dazzling lights adorn the streets of Seoul
To commemorate Buddha’s coming into this world, every year the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism hosts the extravagant Lotus Lantern Festival. The festival is one of the major annual celebrations that take place in the heart of Seoul, drawing together travelers and residents, believers and non-believers alike. All programs are very family-oriented and can be enjoyed by people of any age and background. The festival’s headliner is lantern parade that showcases thousands of lights in various shapes and sizes. This year, the procession starts at Dongdaemun Gate and ends at Gwanghwamun Square. It’s not often that Jongno Avenue, the major thoroughfare of the city, is blocked for a parade, so don’t miss the chance to partake in this special celebration.
VENUE: Most programs will take place at Jogyesa Temple, Bongeunsa Temple, Cheonggyecheon Stream, Gwanghwamun Plaza and Dongguk University.
DATE: May 15-17. The Lantern Parade will take place on May 16, 6 PM.
MORE INFO: T. 2011-1746, llf.or.kr
TIP: Balwoo Gongyang (T. 02-2031-2081, baru.or.kr) on the fifth floor of Templestay Information Center serves fresh and delicate Korean temple cuisine, a perfect way to make your Zen Buddhism experience complete.
GETTING THERE: Jogyesa Temple is accessible from Anguk Station (Line 3), Exit 6. Walk straight ahead to the intersection and turn left at the corner. When you see Templestay Information Center on your left, cross the street and you should see the entrance to the temple.
AROUND THE WEB
A miscellany of high-quality hyperlinks from the week, courtesy of SEOUL editor-in-chief Robert Koehler
Free Classes with ‘Korean Culture to the World’
The non-profit organization “Korean Culture to the World” will be holding free classes on five courses on Korean culture and the Korean arts from the third Tuesday of May to November 2015.
The classes provide international residents with an unprecedented opportunity to experience aspects of Korean traditional culture – Korean traditional food, tea & meditation, hanji binding, folk painting and hanok – with experts in their respective fields.
Classes are taught by a primary teacher and an interpreter. Applications are accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis.
The first class in May 19’s lesson of dyeing hanji, or Korean paper, and traditional book binding, to be held at the Buddhist English Library near Exit 5 or 6 of Anguk Station (Line 3), 2 PM to 5:30 PM.
MORE INFO: To apply, send an email with your name, age, gender, job and telephone number email@example.com. Call to 02-722-0204 for more information.
The 9th Seoul Jazz Festival 2015
As one of the biggest and most successful musical events in Korea, the Seoul Jazz Festival is known to put together a star-studded lineup that frequently catches the attention of show runners at jazz festivals in both Australia and Japan. This year the list includes iconic names such as Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Sergio Mendes, John Scofield and Gregory Porter. Those who are less familiar with the genre can look out for other renowned artists such as Mika, the Cardigans, Maximilian Hecker, Basement Jaxx, Tamia and Owl City. Local acts include Epik High, Uh Uh Boo Project, Park Juwon, Kingston Rudieska, Beenzino and many more so fans can groove to a wide spectrum of genres.
VENUE: Olympic Park
DATES: May 23-25
MORE INFO: T. 02-410-1114, www.olympicpark.co.kr
ADMISSION: KRW 123,000-287,000
GETTING THERE: Olympic Park Station (Line 5), Exit 3
Andrei Gavrilov Piano Recital
World-renown Russian pianist Andrei Gavrilov rose to fame when he snagged first prize at the 1974 International Tchaikovsky Competition as an 18-year-old. In a tragic turn of events, however, his discord with the Soviet regime resulted in him being held under house arrest for five years. After attaining freedom, he spent his prime time performing at New York’s Carnegie Hall and London’s Barbican Hall, and in 1985 he won International Record Critics Award. The musician is notorious for using powerful, spontaneous and wild techniques on keyboard. For the local audience, he will play Chopin’s Ballades Nos. 2 and 4 and Prokofiev’s “Romeo and Juliet: Ten Pieces for Piano, Op. 75.”
VENUE: Concert Hall, Seoul Arts Center
DATE: May 22, 20:00
MORE INFO: T. 02-3463-1730, www.sac.or.kr
ADMISSION: KRW 40,000–120,000
GETTING THERE: Nambu Bus Terminal Station (Line 3), Exit 5. Transfer to a shuttle bus, or green bus No. 4429.
RASKB Excursion: Tea-making and Food in Jirisan
Korean tea can only be made from late in April until the end of May. After that, the leaves of the tea bushes lose their flavor. This visit to an individual tea-maker offers a unique opportunity to participate in the processes by which tea is made, and to taste the freshly dried leaves in the beautiful surroundings of Mt. Jirisan.
VENUE: Jirisan, Jeollanam-do
DATE: May 16-17
COST: KRW 249,000 for members and KRW 299,000 for non-members
MORE INFO: See this link.
GETTING THERE: See link above.
Common Ground, a shopping mall made from 200 shipping containers near Konkuk University. Photo by Robert Koehler.