In celebration of Buddha’s birthday, the annual Lantern Festival, or Yeondeunghoe, is scheduled to be held this coming May in downtown Seoul, South Korea. The Festival is not only the biggest one of its kind in the world, but also one of the “world’s best 10 fantastic festivals for 2018” designated by The Travel Magazine. (http://www.thetravelmagazine.net/10-fantastic-festivals-2018.html)
One of the highlights of this 1,200 year old festival is the Lantern Parade. It will begin at 7p.m. on May 12, 2018, leaving the Dongdaemun neighborhood and passing through Jongno downtown street, all the way to Jogyesa Temple.
During the parade, more than 100,000 parade lanterns and floating lanterns will move through the crowd along the three-kilometer-long streets. The participants and the viewers of the parade will get together by greeting each other and exchanging good words.
As the lantern parade finishes at the Jonggak intersection, people will gather for the post-parade closing ceremony called Hoehyang Hanmadang, and there they will all enjoy the traditional Korean circle dance, or ganggangsulae.
On the following day, another traditional cultural event will take place at Jogyesa Temple. More than 100 booths will provide visitors a chance to experience Korea’s traditional culture, such as making lotus flowers, traditional lanterns and ceramics, and drawing Buddhist patterns and folk paintings. Also, meditation programs and traditional performances will be provided, and temple foods will be served to the participants.
Any visitor interested may participate in the lantern-making contest.