Seoul’s Lotus Lantern Festival to welcome all in illuminating weekend nights

Participants hold lanterns during the 2023 Lantern Parade in downtown Seoul in this file photo from May 20, 2023. Courtesy of Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism

This weekend, Seoul’s night will take off its usual cloak of darkness, replaced instead by the luminous splendor of lotus-shaped lanterns adorning its streets.This transformation is part of Seoul’s annual Yeondeunghoe, also known as the Lotus Lantern Festival.Occurring annually around the national holiday of Buddha’s Birthday, which falls on May 15 this year, the Lotus Lantern Festival is a contemporary interpretation of a Buddhist tradition rooted in the 918-1392 Goryeo Kingdom. The event, now organized by the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism, gained international recognition when it was inscribed as a UNESCO intangible cultural heritage in 2020.During Goryeo, when Buddhism reigned as the state religion, Buddhist events were grandiose national affairs. Although state festivals ceased with the advent of the 1392-1910 Joseon Kingdom, which set neo-Confucianism as its ideology, the Buddhist celebrations remained as beloved folk traditions.Today, this tradition has blossomed into a vibrant spring festival that is set to illuminate Seoul’s downtown area this weekend, in addition to a plethora of unique Buddhist-themed events for all to enjoy.

Last month, a ceremonial lighting event inaugurating the festival took place at central Seoul’s Gwanghwamun Square. This year’s centerpiece, inspired by the nine-story wooden pagoda of Hwangnyong Temple, will cast its glow over Seoul until next Wednesday.Beyond the square, lantern exhibits extend to various locations, including Cheonggye Stream, Songhyeon Green Plaza and prominent Buddhist venues such as Jogye Temple and Bongeun Temple in Seoul.The festival’s highlight will take place this weekend, featuring standout events like the Buddhist Cheer Rally and the Lantern Parade.The Buddhist Cheer Rally, starting at Dongguk University’s Seoul Campus Track and Field at Saturday 4:30 p.m., promises lively Buddist-themed rhythm performances by some 40 teams consisting of more than 1,000 participants.Following this, at 7 p.m., the Lantern Parade, boasting a whopping number of an estimated 100,000 lanterns, will embark from Heunginjimun Gate and conclude its journey at Jogye Temple. Some 70 groups of participants, accompanied by 50 cultural ambassadors from 23 countries worldwide, are set to partake in the 카지노사이트 parade.

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