Buddha’s Birthday Celebrations
This week there are Buddha’s birthday celebrations across Korea. The big day was yesterday, May 3rd. Welcome to week 326 (5/4/2017) of Travel Photo Thursday. I must admit that I stayed away from the festivities this year. However, over my years in Korea, I have attended many gatherings celebrating Buddha’s birthday. Here is a collection of some of my favorite photos taken over the years. Enjoy!
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The colors and the smiles make this photo an all time favorite. For the most part, Koreans usually aren’t the happiest, but something seems to happen during Buddha’s birthday celebrations, and the smiles are contagious.
Seoul Lantern Festival
On the birthday eve, there is a huge birthday party held in the stadium of one of the local universities. While there is a lot of pomp and ceremony, it’s also a festive and fun event.
More smiles, wearing their colorful birthday outfits.
Many walk in the parade that winds itself through the streets of downtown Seoul.
Gifts are also presented to the Buddha just outside Seoul’s main Buddhist temple, Jogyesa. The worshippers are offering songpyeon, Korean rice cake.
Four to six weeks before the big day colorful lanterns begin to pop everywhere across the country. These graced the entrance of Jogyesa Temple.
Buddha’s tree in the courtyard of Jogyesa Temple.
Traditional dancers are also part of Buddha’s birthday celebrations, and I never tire of watching the magically elegant fan dance.
Forty-three percent of Koreans are Buddhists, so his birthday is without a doubt one of the biggest festivals of the year. Based on the lunar calendar, the date changes from year to year. In 2018 the holiday is May 22nd.
Have you celebrated Buddha’s birthday in Korea or elsewhere? Let us know in the comments.
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