If you're in Seoul on May 27 or April 8th of the lunar calendar, you'll experience a beautiful and vibrant celebration of "Buddha's Birthday," a traditional Korean festival that's been a part of Korean culture for centuries. In this article, we'll dive deeper into this special event and explore the amazing traditions, parades, and festivities that make this event a must-see.
1. The Lighting of the Lantern
The festival begins with the lighting of a large lantern that hangs from the ceiling of the main temple. This lantern is a symbol of enlightenment and is meant to represent the teachings of Buddha. The lantern lighting ceremony is a beautiful and serene event that sets the tone for the rest of the celebrations.
2. Parades, Performances, and Ceremonies
Throughout the day, there are parades, performances, and religious ceremonies to honor Buddha and his teachings. People wear traditional Korean clothes and sing traditional songs to celebrate. These performances and ceremonies are a great way to experience the history and culture of Korea.
3. Traditional Food and Merchandise
There are also numerous food stalls and merchants selling traditional snacks, souvenirs, and other items. It is a great opportunity to taste Korean traditional culture and experience the vitality and energy of downtown Seoul. From savory street food to colorful souvenirs, there's something for everyone at this festival.
4. The Lantern Parade
One of the highlights of Buddha's Birthday celebrations is the "Lantern" parade. Thousands of people line the streets to see the brightly colored lanterns lining the city. The procession is led by dancers in traditional costumes, followed by many people holding elaborate lanterns. The sight of these colorful lanterns is breathtaking and a wonderful way to experience the spirit of the festival.
5. The Significance of the Lanterns
In Buddhism, lanterns symbolize enlightenment and the release of one's worries and troubles. The lighting of the lanterns is meant to represent the start of a new, brighter future. This tradition has been carried on for centuries, and it's a beautiful way to celebrate Buddha's Birthday.
6. Traditional Korean Clothing
During the festival, it's common to see people dressed in traditional Korean clothing. Hanbok is the traditional clothing of Korea, and it's a beautiful way to celebrate this special event. You can even rent a Hanbok to wear during the festival and feel like a part of the celebration.
7. The Lotus Lantern Festival
The Lotus Lantern Festival is a related event that takes place in Seoul in the weeks leading up to Buddha's Birthday. During this festival, thousands of lotus lanterns are displayed throughout the city, and there are many parades and events leading up to the main celebration.
8. How to Get There
The main celebrations take place at Jogyesa Temple in central Seoul. It's easily accessible by public transportation, and there are many hotels and hostels in the area. It's best to arrive early to secure a good spot for the lantern parade.
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