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Saturday, 26 May 2007

Jogyesa Temple: Lotus Lantern Festival in Korea

May 24th was Buddha's birthday, and in celebration it was a holiday in Seoul (which meant a day off for us from work). The Lotus Lantern Festival is an annual event leading up to Buddha's birthday. There was a large parade (that I missed!! You can check out "Lanternpolooza" pictures here and here) from Jongno street from Dongdaemun Stadium to Jogyesa Temple that was held on May 20th. I was a bit disappointed, but what I really hoped to see was the 1000's of lanterns at Jogyesa temple. I went on Saturday afternoon/evening and I was in luck as the lanterns were still up.

I've seen pictures of the lanterns in books on Korea and I was glad that I visited the temple to see them for myself. It really is breathtaking since there are so many handmade lanterns hanging in the air:

As for the temple itself, located inside are three Buddha statues. The temple area was calm and peaceful...so peaceful that I took a nap in the bushes nearby--NOT! (A Borat inspired "NOT!"; It would have been funnier six months ago--or NOT).

Here was a cute Buddha statue outside of the temple. The cool part about this statue? There's a yogurt drink resting on his robe--awesome! I was feeling thirsty and was tempted to drink it.

The lanterns were spectacular in the day, but at night is when the lanterns look their best. After a dinner consisting of samgyeopsal in Jongno, I went back to the temple! Here's part of the main entrance:

Here's that same tree located in the middle, but this time around the picture looks much different:

A picture is worth a thousand words. What's a video worth? 1001?

Remember the cute Buddha statue with the yogurt drink? Well, the drink was still there when I returned but there was more--this time around the statue's left hand was full of money too!

Here are a few of the other pictures for you to enjoy:

I wasn't the only out at night snapping pictures...these lanterns attract photography enthusiasts like no tomorrow:

The lanterns surrounding the "yogurt drink" Buddha statue had lanterns with these cute animated Buddhas on them:

Some lanterns were white...my friend told me they represented people who were deceased.
Can someone elaborate on this? :

These look like they belong on a Christmas tree:

Jogyesa Temple is located at Anguk Station (Line 3). The temple itself is about a five minute walk away. Instead of turning left to head down Insadong, keep on going straight and cross the street. Turn left and keep walking and you'll find the temple on your right. More information about the Lotus Lantern Festival can be found on their official website and Tour2Korea. I would highly recommend checking out the lanterns if you're looking for something to do. Wow, a post not dedicated to some sort of meal I had. That will change soon!

For readers outside of South Korea, how did you celebrate Buddha's birthday? Yogurt drinks?


Anonymous said...

wow those are some amazing photos gdog..your work is much appreciated!

Gary said...

korean_soul: Thanks for visiting and leaving such kind comments. I try hard for comments like this. :)

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