Enjoy the Majestic lantern and traditional music during the Buddha’s birthday in Seoul!

Photo1_Buddha festival

The Buddhist festival was held in Seoul, Korea to commemorate the Day of Buddha’s Coming from the first week of May and ended in great success on 12 May. This biggest festival in Buddhism is celebrated annually in most of East Asia to commemorate the birth of the Prince Siddhartha Gautama.

From 4 May to 5 May, Lotus Lantern Festival or Yeon-Deung-Hoei in Korean was held along the streetsin central Seoul to Temple Jogyesa, the headquarter of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism. Lotus Lantern Festival which is aNational Intangible Cultural Property of Korea No.122 has over a thousand year of history dating back to the Silla Dynasty.

During this event, the lantern parade took place along the streets from 7 pm and various traditional cultural performances also took place such as dance and the Pungmul, a Korean traditional musical band. The purpose of the lantern festival is to ignite lantern wishing for Buddha’s compassion to light the whole world.
A plenty of lotus lanterns decorated the streets all over the country reminding people of the Buddha’s enlightenment.

On 12 May, which is Buddha’s birthday and the main date of the festival, over ten thousand of Korean Buddhists and foreign tourists visited the temple Jogyesa. Various ceremony was held from the early morning successively including ritual event, kids drawing class, and preaching of Buddhist teachings.

Ven. Wonhang, the president of the Jogye Order, said in his celebratory remark, “I pray that the light of this lantern will reveal the Buddha nature in all beings and lead them to a higher path of peaceful co-existence; that the light of this lantern will shine on the desperate wishes of the people of Korea for the reunification of the South and the North, opening a door for the new era of harmony and; the lantern will ignite the light in our mind which will brighten up the dark corners of our society.”

Starting from the religious festival, it has become a national culturalfestival that all people regardless of gender and age enjoy traditional music and culture. If you are a tourist looking for historical and traditional festival that is enjoyable, you may look forward to next year’s Buddha’s birthday.

Erika Jeon
Asia Journal
(Los Angeles Times Advertising Supplement)