Each spring, Seoul comes alive with glowing lanterns strung along the streets and among the temples in celebration of Buddha’s Birthday. The Lotus Lantern Festival is a 2-week affair of temple events and lantern making, culminating in the famous Lotus Lantern Parade through downtown Seoul, a particular favorite among expats and visitors.
A sea of colorful lanterns and silky traditional hanboks float down Jongro Street; grinning ajummas waving and shouting annyonghaseyo; and the serene smiles of Buddhist monks from temples all over the world. Huge fire-breathing dragon lanterns, phoenixes, tigers and seated Buddhas make those floating cartoon balloons at the Macy’s Day Parade look like a bunch of amateurs.
I don’t often comment on Seoul’s beauty as it is – ahem – in the eye of the beholder? Yes, that sounds about right. But every year this parade, without fail, casts a delicate glow over the city and for one night — I promise you — it is the most beautiful place on earth.Click on the photo below to view the gallery.