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Buddha’s birthday

Buddha’s birthday is a traditional day celebrated across the Buddhist world in Asia from Sri Lanka to South Korea. One of the largest of these celebrations happens in Seoul in the form of the lotus lantern festival.

    The Lantern festival that takes place over the course of a weekend is concentrated on the Jogyesa temple, although there is a nice display of lanterns to be seen at the Bomeunsa temple in the south of Seoul close to the COEX mall.

    In the lead up to the main lantern parade there are many things to do and see with a carnival atmosphere to be had along the road adjacent to Jogyesa. The road has several stages set up, in addition to a stage set up at Jogyesa, and there are cultural performances from throughout the world during the course of the day.

    The main event is certainly the evening lantern parade though, which lasts for several hours and winds along a route from Dongdaemun (the east gate) up to Jogyesa. This parade features fire breathing dragons, and people dancing in unison with lanterns.

    As well as this large festival in Seoul smaller towns in Korea also have there own smaller festivals for Buddha’s birthday, the more intimate feeling of some of these smaller festivals can even make them feel more special than the large festival that happens in Seoul.


When - Each year varies, but the festival is usually early May.

Jinju lantern festival

Nadaam festival