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[Eye Plus] Lighting up Buddha’s Birthday

Buddha’s Birthday, the largest Buddhist holiday, is celeberated with lotus lanterns of all shapes and colors. Every year, the lanterns cover the yard of Jogyesa, the Buddhist temple in central Seoul, and the surrounding areas.

While this year’s events have been scaled down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Buddhist faithful gather to celebrate the holiday, offering prayers and taking part in rites that have developed within Korean Buddhism over the centuries. 

While lotus lanterns have their roots in ancient rituals linked to agriculture, they became a symbol of Buddhist celebrations during the Goyreo Kingdom that ruled the Korean Peninsula from the 10th to 14th centuries, and continue to light up cities around the country every year at this time.

Photography by Park Hyun-koo
Written by Choi He-suk