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Lotus Lantern Festival set for May 10-12

By Korea Herald

Published : April 18, 2013 - 19:37

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The street parade at the 2012 Lotus Lantern Festival. ( Yeondeunghoe Preservation Committee) The street parade at the 2012 Lotus Lantern Festival. ( Yeondeunghoe Preservation Committee)
From May 10 through 12, major Buddhist temples and the Cheonggyecheon Stream neighborhood in central Seoul will be filled with colorful lotus lanterns to celebrate the 2,576th birthday of Buddha that falls on May 17 this year.

The Celebration Committee for Buddha’s Birthday, the Yeondeunghoe Preservation Committee, on Wednesday said that the annual “Yeondeunghoe,” or lotus lantern festival, will be back this year with more hands-on experiences for visitors.

On the first day, traditional lanterns will be exhibited at Jogyesa and Bongeunsa temples in central and southern Seoul, respectively. The Celebration of Cheer Rally, where participants sing and dance together before marching on the streets to begin the Lotus Lantern Parade will be held on May 11 at 4:30-6 p.m. at Dongguk University Stadium followed by the Lantern Parade along the main Jongno Boulevard, from Dongdaemun to Jogyesa Temple, from 7-9:30 p.m. Flower petals will fall from the night sky at the post-parade celebration, from 9:30-11 p.m.

On Sunday, traditional cultural events such as lantern making, temple food cooking and tasting as well as traditional games and exhibitions of Buddhist culture from other countries will be held on the streets around Jogyesa Temple. Lantern lighting will take place at 7 p.m. on the same day. The final celebration will fill the streets of Insa-dong and Jogyesa Temple until 9 p.m.

Yeondeunghoe, Intangible Cultural Heritage No. 122, is recorded to have started in the Silla Kingdom era (B.C. 57-A.D. 935), when Buddhism was the state religion. During the Joseon period (1392-1910) when Confucianism was dominant, it was demoted to “nori (fair)” but still remained a core event among many Buddhists.

For more information call (02) 2011-1744, visit www.LLF.or.kr/eng or email kang@buddhism.or.kr.

By Bae Ji-sook (baejisook@heraldcorp.com)