Saturday, May 7, 2011

Happy Birthday Buddha!

Today was a huge celebration for Buddha's Birthday. The Lotus Lantern Festival is held every year here in Insadong. I'm so excited we were able to be a part of it and experience the festivities. Our morning was standard which of course means buckwheat bakes and a few errands!

*Side note--The BEST granola came in today and I can't wait to have it tomorrow! I'm so excited! Thank you Michele's Granola!

We hoped on the Subway and headed down to get the afternoon started. We knew we wanted to grab lunch in Insadong so we wondered around until we were both starving and couldn't wait any longer. We were really boring and went to a Cafe to grab something quick.

After our veggie sandwiches it was time to head back out. Insadong is an artsy area with many pottery and painting shops. It has a lot of tradition Korean artifacts so it's always interesting to see. The Lantern Parade wasn't starting until dusk so after all the walking, someone needed a refreshing beer or two to keep him going.
This was the bar we stopped to for drinks. I thought the sign was pretty funny. I love advertisements here!

We were early enough to make it to the front row of the parade and stayed to see tons of lanterns and people celebrating the holiday. I found this description of the Festival from a Korean Website 

"The Yeon Deung Hoe is a traditional Korean folk festival that began in the Goryeo Period (918 - 1392) as the Lotus Lantern Assembly (Yeondeunghoe) and continued in the Joseon Dynasty (1392 - 1910) as the Lantern Celebration (Kwandeung-nori). According to Buddhist beliefs, the act of lighting a lotus-shaped lantern will light up the dark parts of one's soul. By doing this, the evil and flawed parts of one's soul are stripped away leaving only a clean slate to start anew. Lanterns are also lit to dispel the darkness that is in the world, symbolizing one's hope for a wiser and more compassionate society. "

It was fun be surrounded by happy, cheering people. The lanterns were incredible to see and can't wait to see what our next adventure will be here in Seoul. I have a ton of pictures I'll be posting tomorrow so check back!

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