Buddha’s Birthday

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.

9 Responses to “Buddha’s Birthday”

  1. carolyn says:

    m-a-g-i-c-a-l.
    and stunning.
    and I need a framed gallery of these.
    NEED.

  2. BF says:

    i just keep flipping through these, again and again. thanks for sharing.

  3. jodi says:

    amazingly beautiful.

  4. ash says:

    oh steph, this is pure magic. xo

  5. Phoe says:

    Absolute magic.

  6. hiki says:

    wow, i had never heard of the “buddha’s birthday” before! we certainly don’t have that here in japan! it looks like a beautiful event though, i love all your photos so glowing and pretty!

  7. How m a g i c is that!
    OK, starting from now, Seoul is my next dream destination…
    THANKS a LOT***

  8. dave tuttle says:

    you captured these so beautifully steph!! well done my friend!

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