|Lighting Up the World with Wisdom and Happiness
The Yeon Deung Hoe brightens the spirit with not only paper lanterns, but community spiritual
The eighth day of the fourth lunar month is the Buddha’s Birthday, when temples nationwide light paper lanterns to symbolically transmit the wisdom and compassion of the Buddha. In Seoul, the holiday is celebrated with the Yeon Deung Hoe (May 6-8), a millennial festival of light that brightens not only the night sky above the city but also the hearts of its participants.
While the celebration features several days of events, the undisputed highlight is the Lotus Lantern Parade (May 7, 7-9:30 PM), a truly awe-inspiring processing of Buddhist-related floats and lotus lantern-toting marchers along Jongno, Seoul’s historic central thoroughfare. Seen from above, it resembles nothing less than the Milky Way or a river of candlelight flowing through the heart of the city.
The procession features many spectacularly designed floats, usually based on a Buddhist theme. Many temples and Buddhist organizations contribute teams of marchers. In recent years, delegations from Sri Lanka, Thailand and other primarily Buddhist nations have taken part as well, a reflection of Seoul’s growing multiculturalism.
MORE INFO: www.llf.or.kr
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AROUND THE WEB
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Disney Theatrical Productions’ musical “Newsies” makes its Asian premiere at the Chungmu Art Hall stars a young and energetic cast of some of Korea’s rising young theatrical talent. Based on the Newsboys’ Strike of 1899, “Newsies” is a powerful performance that features tap dance, acrobatics and even ballet and stirring tunes such as “Carrying the Banner,” “Seize the Day” and “Santa Fe.” Nominated for eight Tony Awards when it debuted on Broadway in 2012, the show has played over 1,000 times and drawn over 1 million theatergoers.
VENUE: Chungmu Art Hall
PERIOD: Thru July 3
ADMISSION: KRW 50,000-130,000
MORE INFO: T. 02-1588-5212, www.cmah.or.kr
GETTING THERE: Sindang Station (Line 6), Exit 9. Walk 50 m in the direction of the Dongdaemun Design Plaza.
SFS Open House
Seoul Foreign School will be holding an Early Years Ages 2-5 Open House on May 16, 9:30-11:30 AM for prospective parents interested in enrollment for August 2016. There will be an opportunity for parents to tour the campus, visit classrooms and meet with admissions personnel to ask questions and learn more about the wonderful programs SFS offers.
DATE: May 16
MORE INFO: T. 02-2301-3121, www.seoulforeign.org
The Paranoid Zone
National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea (MMCA) is pleased to present The Paranoid Zone, a collaborative project by a group of mid-career artists active in the fields of music, film, performance, and stage design. The Paranoid Zone explores the layers of the world of paranoia, a delusional disorder or delusion itself. A delusional disorder manifests itself most prominently in the form of conspiracy theory in todayâ€™s society, as evident in the discussions of conspiracy of financial institutions and extraterrestrial existence, and so forth. The Paranoid Zone interweaves the settings and conditions for an immersive environment that stimulates the visual, auditory, and tactile senses to evoke memories and generate new experiences. The exhibition space is divided into four zones, each presenting a particular scene. At the same time, each zone is based on an open-ended narrative where consistency and disjunction intercross ad infinitum. The viewers will experience a surging psychological dissonance through their bodies that move in defiance of the familiar.
VENUE: National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul
PERIOD: Thru July 17
ADMISSION: KRW 4,000
MORE INFO: T. 02-3701-9500
GETTING THERE: Anguk Station (Line 3), Exit 1
Strolling Along the Baekdudaegan
Korean painter Moon Bong-sun’s 150-meter wide masterpiece “The Beautiful Landscape of Korea as a Painting” is on display at the DDP Design Pathway. The traditional ink and wash painting depicts the entire Baekdudaegan, Korea’s mountainous spine, from Mt. Jirisan to Mt. Baekdusan’s Lake of Heaven. You can enjoy it as you stroll the pathway, or you can take in while reclining – as Korean landscape paintings were meant to be enjoyed – on special chairs designed by noted furniture designer Ha Jihoon.
VENUE: Dongdaemun Design Plaza
PERIOD: Thru May 29
ADMISSION: KRW 4,000
MORE INFO: T. 02-2153-0000
GETTING THERE: Dongdaemun History and Culture Park Station (Lines 2, 4, and 5), Exit 1
Enchanted the Seven Dwarfs
The Seoul Metropolitan Musical Theatre, which has presented quality performances for children and their families every year, delights audiences during Family Month with “Dwarfs under a Spell.” It originates from an interesting imagining of the seven dwarfs from the Brothers Grimm’s originally being knights but who were transformed into dwarfs under a spell of an evil witch. This fantastic and well-made children’s musical, with the participation of the nation’s best staff, including producer Kim Deok-nam and writer Yoon Hye-jeong, is highly anticipated.
VENUE: Sejong Center for the Performing Arts
PERIOD: Thru May 22
ADMISSION: KRW 22,000-50,000
MORE INFO: T. 02-399-1772
GETTING THERE: Gwanghwamun Station (Line 5), Exit 1 or 8
Cat Zorba, a Family Musical
In 1347 during the Middle Ages, Sparky, the rat king, spreads a false rumor that cats are transmitting the plague to eliminate cats from the human world. As humans begin massacring the cats, survivers form their own cat kingdom, Ieper. One day, a cat named MiMi arrives from the human world. MiMi came here to find her lost child, Luna. Through MiMi, the detective and math genius Zorba comes to know that Pita, a royal magician, is plotting to completely shut the Moon Road, the only route connecting Ieper to the human world. Will Zorba and Mimi be able to solve the magic puzzle before Luna is sacrificed and save the kingdom of Ieper?
VENUE: Theater Yong, National Museum of Korea
PERIOD: Thru May 29
ADMISSION: KRW 35,000-55,000
MORE INFO: T. 1577-3363
GETTING THERE: Take the underpass at Ichon Station (Jungang Line, Line 4).
Color and Pageantry in Seoulâ€™s Temples on Buddha’s Birthday
In celebration of Buddha’s birthday the RAS-KB will be visiting several different temples and shrines in Seoul. The first stop will be Bomunsa, headquarters of the Bomun Order, the only order of female monks in the world and Mitasa. Next, you will visit Gaeunsa, Botasa and Chilsongam Hermitage to see its white Buddha, a fifteen-foot tall relief carved in rock. From this temple we will continue on to Bongwonsa to observe the monks there perform several traditional ritual dances. With their slow rhythm and movement, these unique dances differ from other celebratory dances.
DATE: May 14
COST: KRW 39,000-46,000
MORE INFO and GETTING THERE: See this link.
Sunset over the Imjingang River, seen from Imjingak. Beyond the river lies the civilian exclusion zone, the DMZ and North Korea. iPhone snap by Robert Koehler of Seoul Selection.