Saturday, May 15, 2010
Lotus Lantern Festival
Every year the Koreans celebrate the birthday of Buddah. Every year it is on another date in May. Buddah’s birthday is held every 8th day of the month May, GEBASSEERD on the Lunar calendar. In Seoul they are celebrating it over 600 years. In Korea Buddah’s birthday is called Seokga tansinil (석가탄신일 : The day of Buddha’s birthday)
During Buddha’s birthday Korea celebrate it with the Lotus lantern festival held in their capital Seoul in Jongno. During the whole month May, the city is covered with lanterns.
This year Buddha’s birthday is on Sunday 21st of May 2010. People who are joining the festival can explore the Korean Buddhist culture.
The first activity of Buddha’s birthday is the Lighting Ceremony at Seoul Plaza. By having the Lighting Ceremony at Seoul Plaza they want to symbolize the religion Buddhism and the birth of Buddha. After this event there is a Grand Harmony festival. This is the lantern Parade that starts at Dongguk University till Jogyesa temple in Jongno. The whole day there are different activities to do and to see for visitors of the festival. About 100,000 lanterns will light up Seoul.
This day is not only for Buddhist in Korea, but for everyone who has interest in Buddhism. Everyone can experience the culture and the religion. With this event, there are many foreigners.
Why it is called Lotus lantern festival? The Lotus represents purity and Buddha, also is has been depicted in many paintings and scultpures in the Buddhist religion. The Lotus is a water flower. It doesn’t matter how dirty the water is, the blossoms of the Lotus will remain clean. They believed Buddha was like the Lotus, it doesn’t matter how dirty the environment and surroundings were, Buddha stayed clean. 14 years ago this started as a national event. Every year there are thousands and thousands of people joining the Lotus Lantern Festival with a lot of volunteers who take care of this whole event.
By lightning a lotus-shaped lantern it symbolizes a religious devotion to do good deeds and to bring lights enlightenment to the people who are in pain and are lost. To think about others and not only about yourself. It is also a way to bring everyone together, to make it multicultural, the Korean people and the foreigners.
During the lantern walk from Insadong to the Jogyeka temple there will be more than 100,000 people walking with the Lotus Lanters, elephants, dragons and other kind of lanters swaying along the stream and the Jongno street.