|The Lotus Lantern Festival, celebrating the birth of Buddha, dates back to the Three Kingdoms Period (57 B.C. - A.D. 676). During the Goryeo Dynasty (918 - 1392), when Buddhism was the state religion, colorful lanterns were strung and festivities were held across the country from palaces to small villages. This traditional festival is enjoyed by all today. The highlight of the festival is the evening Lantern Parade that begins at Dongdaemun Gate and makes its way to Jogyesa Temple. The glow of the colorful lanterns is brilliant. Visitors can also see an exhibit of lanterns and try to make their own lanterns to carry in the parade. Held for 3 days from April 28 to 30, this festival dazzles all with is vibrant palate of colors and celebratory atmosphere. Apart from this, the City Hall Lighting Ceremony will be held in front of City Plaza on April 18.|
|▣ City Hall Lighting Ceremony|
|Seoul City Hall Plaza will be decorated with a large light symbolizing the birth of Buddha on April 18 before the official lotus lamp lighting ceremony. With the lighting of the large lamp, the lotus lamp lighting ceremony will begin with various programs including praying around the pagoda stone. The lights will come on every evening during sunset, until 1:00 am from April 18 to May 5. Anyone wishing to see the beautiful lotus lights can visit City Hall Plaza.|
|▣ Exhibition of Traditional Lanterns|
|People from all religions around the world will enjoy seeing the display of lanterns made with hannji. Approximately 40 designs of uniquely colored lanterns will be on display. Wishes are made according to the shape of the lantern. This beautiful exhibition is free of charge and is open from April 29 to May 5 for 2 hours. The exhibition is held at Bongeunsa Temple, visitors can take subway line No.2 to Samseong Station. Go out exit No. 6 and walk for about 10 minutes to the temple.|
| ▣ Festival’s Eve Celebration |
The Eve Celebration will parade from Jogyesa Temple to Insa-dong, offering spectators a splendid sight. The larger than life lanterns along with amazing costumes make this event unforgettable. The Eve Celebration will be held on April 29, from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm, starting at the street in front of Jogyesa Temple.
| ▣ Buddhist Street Festival |
Performances of Korean traditional percussion instruments and the Foreigners’ Traditional Dance Show offer much to see. Visitors can also take part in making lotus lanterns, experience of traditional straw utensils, and a variety of other Buddhist-related activities.
Additional activities include eating temple fare and sampling traditional tea. The Buddhist Street Festival is open on April 30, from noon to 8 pm and is held at the street in front of Jogyesa Temple.
| ▣ Opening Ceremony for the parade |
The opening ceremony is full of rhythm and song. Roughly 30,000 Buddhists representing temples from around the country gather to celebrate the birth of Buddha.
The opening ceremony is held on April 30 from 4:30 to 6:30 pm for 2 hours at Dongdaemun Sports Complex. To get there, take Subway lines No. 2, 4, or 5
| ▣ Lantern Parade |
Approximately 100,000 lanterns will light the streets at the Lantern Parade. Unique lanterns in the shape of animals, flowers, mythical creatures, and more will travel the streets of Seoul, creating an atmosphere that is magical. Lanterns will range from small hand- held lanterns to larger than life lanterns.
The Lantern Parade is held on April 30 from 07:00 pm to 09:30 pm. The parade starts at Dongdaemun History & Culture Park and heads down the streets of Jongno, until reaching Jogyesa Temple.
| ▣ Being Together Celebration |
The final celebration of the festival is the Dongdae Celebration of unity and hope in which flowers rain down from the heavens in front of Jogyesa Temple. The city becomes one at this event as visitors sing and dance in celebration. The final celebration will take place in front of Jogyesa Temple on April 30 from 9:30 pm to 10:30 pm. This final celebration for the festival will be packed with people, so caution is advised.
| ▣ Schedule of Events |
| * The above schedule is subject to change after April 3, 2006. ▣ Inquiries: |
The Lotus Flower is a well known symbol of Buddhism. This flower has two meanings. First, the lotus flower blossoms in mud ponds, but it is not tainted and keeps its purity always. It is like Buddha and Bodhisattvas, who lived in the world but remained pure. Second, it bears a flower and fruit at the same time. It reflects the law of cause and effect. Therefore, when Buddhists act in everyday life, they keep in mind that their actions are followed by results.
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