A couple of weeks ago, we went to Yeon Deung Hoe (연등회), the Lotus Lantern Festival for Buddha’s Birthday. It moves around a bit, partly because so does Buddha’s Birthday and partly due to when it’s getting dark. It was quite a bit before Buddha’s Birthday this year, probably because it would get dark too late if they’d waited.
Before we get to the pictures, note that I’ve embedded a number of videos here — this is my most video-laden post yet — as I thought it would really give a better sense of the event. But the videos (though short) are fairly large… I found that clicking on on the video image (to start it) and then immediately clicking on pause to let the video load gave better results. I’ll play around with reducing their size and replace them (and this paragraph!), and I hope my next ‘video blog posting’ will be better.
We walked down through Jogyesa Temple (조계사), down through Insadong to where the Lantern Parade was going to be. We had seats in a little viewing stand, full of ambassadors & Buddhist monks, although looking across the street I do think most people had a very good view. We were sitting next to our friend H.E. Kiat Yip, the Ambassador from Singapore, which was nice as well, and just down the row from H.E. Mark Lippert, the US Ambassador, & his wife, of which more later.
The start of the parade was mostly people, as the illuminated lanterns look much better as it gets darker, some groups in costume & some not, but pretty much all carrying lanterns, unless they were dancing musicians (see video below). Sometimes, the parade marchers would spot Mark Lippert, and then there’d be a flurry of people waving, shaking his hand and (only once, surprisingly) taking a selfie with him.
Here are some pictures after it got darker…
… and a few more videos
Finally we went back up through Insadong and through Jogyesa, which was quite a bit brighter & livelier than before!