Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Lotus Lantern Festival (preview)

Sunday after the barbecue, we stumbled on the Lotus Lantern Festival Buddhist Street Festival in Insadong. This is one of the kick off events of the Lotus Lantern Festival.
The festival celebrates the birth of Buddha and was started in the three kingdoms period (approximately 57B.C.). The festivities include lighting of City Hall, a traditional lantern display, the Buddhist street festival, a parade and various other celebrations. We went to the Jogyesa Temple and put our shoes with the hundreds of others at the door.
We walked in and took a bow to the three enormous statues of Buddha. A monk chanted a service which was blasted through speakers throughout the temple and into the courtyard.
People offered prayers as they poured water over the head of a statue.
The courtyard had two lantern displays, one of pure white and one rainbow. This is just a preview of things to come as Thursday we get the day off and will be braving the crowds to experience Buddha's birthday firsthand.
FYI: The lotus is a well known symbol of Buddhism for two reasons: for keeping its purity while blooming from mud; and for bearing a flower and fruit at the same time and demonstrating the laws of cause and effect.

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