Buddha’s Birthday

Celebrating Buddha’s birthday is huge! The streets of Seoul are decorated with colored lanterns a week early in remembrance of the holiday.  Regardless of your religious views, I highly recommend visiting any one of the historic temples on this day. Try the traditional bean powder snacks, give an offering and observe Buddhist practices. On May 3rd, I, along with a group of friends, joined our Korean host as he guided us up a mountain to witness a mesmerizing temple. It was elaborately decorated and the temple itself was incredibly detailed in design. Lunch was served in a monk’s home, where he gave us words of advice on life and how to truly be content with our time on Earth. Later that same evening, we attended the Lotus Lantern Festival. Thousands of hand made lanterns were paraded through the streets. Street food was served and traditional Korean performers entertained the crowds with their lively singing and dancing. My favorite part about this event was seeing the different costumes and learning the time period of when they were worn.  Even the small river that ran through this part of the city was filled with many water themed lanterns, all extremely large in size. In other areas, small children were constructing their own lotus lanterns to take home. It was an enjoyable time for all!

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