Buddha’s Birthday lantern festival, Seoul

“It is better to travel well than to arrive.” Buddha

 ImageSpring in South Korea brings not only a renewed spirit after the bitter winter months, but also the unique festivities of Buddha’s Birthday.  The festival  in Seoul spans a few days and includes multitudes of lanterns of all shapes, sizes and colors as well as parades, vegetarian food stalls and Buddhist displays from various countries.

ImageImageImageThe main event of the celebration is the spectacular parade on Jong-ro, which is the main drag in old downtown Seoul. The parade itself features a brilliant display of lanterns all glowing in the night sky, throngs of faithful marching and immeasurable numbers of spectators.

ImageImageImageImageImageAnother way to partake in the mood is to visit a temple, where hordes of faithful and onlookers alike  converge to pray or just witness the events. The aura is made more complete by the dimmed glow produced by the many lanterns crowing the ceilings and is completed by a simple vegetarian meal that is provided by many of the temples, especially in the small mountain ones located near the city.