Krupal Mehta, Mumbai, Maharashtra
Buddha’s birthday is widely celebrated in Asian countries. In Korea, it is celebrated on the eighth day of the fourth month of the lunar calendar. It is one of the most celebrated festivals in South Korea. Millions of people whether tourists or nationals celebrate Buddha’s birthday. In Korea, Buddha’s birthday is called Seokga Tansini. This day can be also called Bucheo-nim o-shin nal meaning “the day when the Buddha came”. In 2023, Buddha’s birthday is being celebrated on Wednesday, May 27th.
Usually, in South Korea, temples are situated in mountains. On Buddha’s birthday, many Koreans and tourists visit temples. The whole temple is illuminated by dozens of lanterns. Visitors can hang their lanterns inside the temple with their name tags and can write a wish on them. Temples host several events like Mask Dance, traditional games, and acrobatic shows. Temples also provide free food like traditional rice dishes i.e. bibimbap with many vegetables and tea.
The whole country is beautifully decorated with coloured lanterns. It is one of the auspicious days as well as a public holiday in South Korea. The highlight of the celebration is the Lotus Lantern Festival or Yeon Deung Hoe. This tradition originated in the Silla period more than 1,200 years ago. The tradition has been carried through both the Goryeo and Joseon dynasties and it’s still carried out. The lanterns are called Lotus lanterns since they have the shape of a lotus.
Usually, a parade starts in the early evening and can go till night. In cities like Seoul, even Buddhist monks join the crowd for parades and carry lanterns depicting Buddha’s values. Lanterns in the shape of magnificent dragons and replicas of Buddha are shown off in the parade as well. Most events and preparations for Buddha’s birthday usually start before a week. Lanterns are also seen around Cheongyecheon stream, Insadong, and Jogyesa temple in central Seoul.
Buddha’s festival is one of the gorgeous and most splendid festivals in Korea for Koreans as well as tourists. Tell us your thoughts in the comments!