This weekend, Seoul hosted Yeon Deung Hoe — Korea’s annual Lotus Lantern Festival in honor of Buddha’s birthday on May 25.
The highlight of the festival is a spectacular lantern parade complete with pyrotechnics, traditional dancers, high school marching bands and an unimaginable variety of elaborate, multicolored lanterns.
The parade is centered around the Jogyesa temple, the chief temple of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism, where lotus lanterns cover the entire structure throughout the month. Lanterns are also on display at the Bongeunsa temple in Gangnam and in Cheonggyecheon, where illuminated lanterns float down the stream at night through May 26.
After the parade, attendees gathered in Gwanghwamun Plaza at the base of the Grand Lantern for a post-parade celebration (hoehyang) featuring music and prayer. The Grand Lantern (a huge pagoda-shaped structure) is on display at the plaza from April 29 – May 26.