Buddha’s Birthday in Seoul

Posted by on May 21, 2015 in Featured, Korea, Travel Photo Thursday | 28 comments

Welcome to week 228 (05/21/2015) of Travel Photo Thursday. It’s that time of year again in Seoul and Korea, Buddha’s Birthday.  The actual holiday is May 25th, but the Koreans have been celebrating since last weekend with the Lotus Lantern Festival. However, you will still find lots happening at the temples on May 25th, and, if you’re in Seoul, I recommend heading to Joggye-sa Temple in the heart of downtown. Enjoy my favorite photos from previous Buddha Birthday celebrations.

Remember to leave your comment and link!

A traditional offering ceremony in front of Joggye-sa Temple…


Altar For the Offerings

Offering Ceremony Buddha's Birthday

Monks from many countries come to celebrate, and they also have booths set-up to educate visitors about Buddhism in their various countries, and to sell Buddhist related souvenirs.


Monks, Buddhas Birthday


A perfect opportunity to enjoy Korean traditional dance…


Fan Dance



Joggye-sa Temple Buddha Birthday celebrations…beautiful lanterns everywhere!


Jogye-sa Temple Entrance

Jogye-sa Temple, Seoul

Bodhi Tree, Jogye-sa Temple, Seoul

Lanterns, Jogye-Sa Temple

Lanterns Waiting to be Lit, Jogye-Sa Temple

Lanterns, Jogye-Sa Temple


This was taken at the Eoulim Madang, which is a huge celebration held just prior to the parade. All of the parade participants come together to sing, dance, celebrate. I have never seen so many happy Koreans in one place!


Buddha's Birthday, Seoul 2011

Buddha's Birthday Party, 2011


The parade…beautiful costumes and smiles…


Lantern Parade, Buddha's Birthday, Seoul 2011

Celebrating The Buddha


Roof Line Joggyse-Sa…


Roof Line at Jogyse-Sa Temple, Seoul

Traveler’s Tip

If you’re planning a trip to Seoul and Korea, and plan to take in the Buddha birthday festivities, be sure to get your dates right. The celebration is based on the lunar calendar, and usually happens in May or June. The Lotus Lantern Festival usually happens a week before the actual holiday. His actual birthday (this year May 25th) is the day that every temple in Korea celebrates. Temples are beautifully decorated with lanterns, and all most all offer visitors a free vegetarian lunch.

To get to Joggyesa Temple:
Jonggak Station (Seoul Subway Line 1), Exit 2.
Go 200m forward to arrive at Joggyesa Temple.
Anguk Station (Seoul Subway Line 3), Exit 6.
Go 130m forward, and turn left at the Anguk Intersection (안국동사거리).
Go 200m forward to arrive at Joggyesa Temple.

This is the 228th edition of Travel Photo Thursday. You can browse the archives here.

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  1. The Malaysians call this celebration Wesak Day. It’s been strange for me to be back in America and have Buddha’s birthday go unmarked. The rows and rows of colorful lanterns in your photos are so festive. The costumes are very pretty, too.

    • Hi Michele. I’ve never been in Malaysia for Buddha’s birthday, but I’m sure it would be a gorgeous celebration.

  2. Interesting… Japan celebrates Buddha’s Birthday, Hana Matsuri – The Flower Festival) on April 8th.

    • It’s interesting how every Asian country seems to celebrate Buddha’s birthday on a different day! 🙂

  3. Hi Nancie, what a beautiful time to be in Seoul. I’d like to experience this celebration one day. It looks magical – the sea of colorful lanterns, the costumes, the rituals, etc. Your photos are stunning and I felt I was in the middle of the festivities.

    • Hi Marisol. Thanks so much for your kind words. It really is a lovely festival, and especially for anyone with a camera 🙂

  4. It’s all so colourful and fun-looking, so many smiling people indeed!

    • Hi Phoebe. Honestly, I think this holiday is about the only time I ever see the Koreans genuinely happy. It’s refreshing to see!

  5. Gorgeous, I’ve visited this temple in winter time and wow, what a different look it is when it is decorated, gorgeous!

    • Hi Noel. The lanterns just make so much difference.

  6. I love all the beautiful colors! How fascinating!

    • Hi Jill. Thanks! I love all the colors. There is a lot of gray in Korea, so when a festival this colorful comes a long it is just so great to enjoy and photograph.

  7. Your photos are magnificent!!! I would love to visit this!

    • Hi Jackie. I think it’s considered one of the top festivals in Korea, and is stunning to visit!

  8. Love to read your blog. There is always something new to learn thru your stories and photos. To me, it is always interesting to learn more about festivities in other countries. Now, I wonder if in Los Angeles (or surrounding areas) we have something similar (in a lesser scale) since we have very big Asian communities.

  9. Hi Nancie, what a wonderful and colorful celebration! You’re so lucky to experience this.
    Thanks for sharing with us. Your photos are very beautiful!

  10. Nancie, The colors in this post are stunning. I loved going to the Buddhist festivals when I was living in Korea. Gorgeous!

  11. Those pictures look so good! I’ve always wanted to experience different cultures and experiencing this festival is definitely on the list. I can only imagine the colors and brightness emerging with the variety in foods and natural attractions as well. cool

  12. Absolutely stunning. Seeing other cultures and their holidays always amazes me; there is so much I have that still needs to be discovered in this world! Thanks for posting this.

  13. Hi, Nancie, thanks for the visit and commented dropped on my latest post. Wonderful album with stunning shots of that colourful festival. Impossible to select my favourite. They all are…

  14. Everything is so colourful. Certainly has a celebratory feel. How fortunate you were to be able to take in Buddha birthday festivities in Korea.

  15. I love the way you’ve composed your photos so that the repetitive elements create such a huge impact. What a colorful and joyful experience this is! Thanks for sharing with us. I would love to see it one day.

  16. Wow! The colour is just amazing – the pictures really say it better than words ever could. I bet that fan dance is incredible to watch.

  17. Beautiful photos! Makes me look forward to my visit to Seoul this summer even more, even though I’ll miss this festival.

  18. So elegant and colourful. Lovely photos. Who does festivals better than that part of the globe? That’s clearly a festival to include on the travel calendar. Thank you for the informative reminder.

  19. Some wonderful photos. Very colorful.

  20. I loved reading about this celebration and your photo are awesome!!!

  21. There’s nothing as special as being in a foreign destination for a local festival. The pictures are just gorgeous. I hope to visit one day.


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