Friday, May 09, 2008

Lantern Festival

This past weekend was a long weekend - May 5th was Children's day. Next weekend is also a long weekend - May 12th this year is Buddha's birthday. Every year to celebrate Buddha's birthday, there is a week long festival. This past weekend was the beginning of the festival. Sunday was the big day with all sorts of activities from traditional performances and traditional arts and crafts to temple food tasting.Once in Insadong, we wandered around a bit and stopped to check out one of the performances - a form of Lion Dance. Really cool. [For something really cool, check out some of the clips from the World Lion Dance competitions - AMAZING!!! Check out how they mount the poles that they dance on.]Kinda cute. They even had the lions stalking and pouncing on a little toy rabbit. I could SO see my cat in the actions.
I missed out on the lotus lantern making but did get to make mini lotus flowers. I finished just as it started to rain.[at the temple gate]
I went over to the local temple to wander about for a bit.[golden Buddha - there are 3 of them][carvings on temple doors]They had 1000 (+?) lanterns in the shape of a lotus flower in front of the temple (and basically covering the entire area).[I LOVE how it looks like a rainbow lantern tree!!!]I love the lanterns!!![traditional Korean music and performances]
Then it was off to watch the parade. It is a huge parade, usually lasting around 3 hours (7-10PM) and is followed by a concert and dancing in the streets.The street was lit up with giant balloons.As the parade was starting, there were people handing out free things such as little plastic fans (advertising some company or another) and little collapsible plastic candle lanterns. I got two as the first one didn't have a candle, and as I am a foreigner, there was a search on for another one. :)For the most part, it is a Buddhist parade with monks, and throngs of people carrying all kinds of lanterns.Many (most) were dressed up in the traditional Korean clothing - Hanboks.There were giant lit up floats of Buddhas, dragons and such.[Buddhist symbol][a pagoda that grows and shrinks][Chonjang Chonwang, Guardian of the South]
A few of the groups were International Buddhist groups - Thai Buddhists, Cambodian Buddhists, Tibetan Buddhists, etc. I always enjoy the parade. It would have been much nicer, though, if the weather was more cooperative. It was windy and cold with bits of rain now and then. Kinda put a damper on the enjoyment. Oh well. I loved it all anyway. :)

1 comment:

hyungwlee said...

Hi

I am a publisher of THE EAST; the only English newspaper, which is mainly focused on the East Asian information (at the beginning of every month, more than 12,000 free copies are distributed throughout the London area, particularly, where East Asian Networks are established).

I looked at your blog the other day and have been wondering if there would be any chance that we could publish some of your interesting articles on the paper.
We think some of your blog articles should be very helpful to the Westners who are interested in Asian Culture.
The East cannot afford to pay for your articles right now (as we are non-profitable organisation). However, if you wish, we can still offer you:
1. Advertising space
2. Link to THE EAST web site blog section

We look forward to hearing from you shortly.

Many thanks and kind regards,

Hyung Wook Lee
Publisher
MBA(Edin)

THE EAST, The East Asian Monthly Business Newspaper,
Elephant Consulting Limited, 37 Charter Court, Linden Grove,
New Malden, Surrey, KT3 3BN, UK
Tel : + 44 (0) 7912 608 321 / Web site: www.theeast.org / E mail : publisher@theeast.org
Registered in England & Wales, Company No. 6254454