Travellingto.asia – It’s the time of year the time of year when Korea shines the brightest when streets are adorned with vibrant lanterns to mark Buddha’s birthday. This year, there will not be just bright decorations.
The annual lantern festival most cherished eventthe lantern paradeis returning to the same spot for the first time for 2 years. Yeondeunghoe or the lighting of lanterns festival, which is held each year to mark Buddha’s birthday on the 8th of April on lunar calendars, has been included on the Unesco’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list for 2020.
Unfortunately, the huge-scale celebration which was planned to commemorate the occasion just at the right time for Yeondeunghoe this year was cancelled due to the Covid-19. It was announced that the Jogye Order of Buddhism, the largest Buddhist sect that hosts the annual celebration, tried this year but had to cut down the celebration due to the outbreak.
This is the reason why the event this year is expected to be huge and stunning, Jogye Order officials said.
“We lit up the lantern statue at the plaza in front of the Seoul City Hall on April 5 at 7 p.m. to signal the start of this year’s event,” explained an official of the Jogye Order of Buddhism. “There will be various events until May 11 for both Koreans and foreigners to participate in as they wish to return to their ordinary lives with the end of the pandemic.”
The main highlight of all activities is the lantern festival. It will take place on April 30th between 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. starting from Heunginjimun Gate to Jogye Temple in central Seoul.
A large number of people from various Buddhist temples will gather on this day, all wearing their individual lanterns to the parade. The organizers also encourage people who are not Buddhists to join in too — since the event is according to the Unesco website, a celebration of all believers as well as non-believers in Buddhism.
Virtual lantern festival
For those who are nervous about going to an event that has a huge crowd There will be the option of a parade online. Participants can pick their own character and a lantern to take part in the parade virtually via www.llf.or.kr/2022lanternparade/eng.php.
Beautiful lanterns made of hanji which is a traditional Korean paper to be displayed between April 29 and the 11th of May at Jogye Temple in central Seoul, Bongeun Temple in southern Seoul and around Cheonggye Stream in central Seoul as part of Seoul’s “Traditional Lanterns Exhibit.”
For those looking to watch various shows, a visit at the Jogye Temple on May 1 is a good option since the stage will be to show a variety of traditional shows like madangnori(traditional Korean outdoor performance) from noon until 6 p.m. If you’re looking for a venue to mark this day by dancing to a tune of your own, head for the Dongguk University on April 30 at 4 p.m. In its outdoor venue there’s performing from different dance groups, but it will also be an opportunity for the participants to showcase their own dancing moves.
Additionally, there will be a lotus lantern-making ceremony for people from outside the country. The event is being hosted through the International Dharma Instructors Association (IDIA). Participants will be able create the lotus lanterns of their choice, and take part in a small parade which will take place around the Insa-dong.
“It’ll be an opportunity for foreigners to feel and experience the 1,200-year-old traditional culture of Korea,” an official from IDIA told reporters. “The experience of lotus lantern making is a wonderful moment to reflect on your own sincere wishes.”
The festival will take place on May 1 between 11 a.m. until five p.m. in the front of Ujeongcheongguk close to Jogye Temple in central Seoul. This mini-parade will take place between 7 p.m. until nine p.m. that same day.
While the event is free, registration is required. The pre-registration form is available on the IDIA site at www.llf.or.kr/eng.
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