Pages InformationWriter Jogye Date18 May 2018 Read1,818 Comment0
Buddhist Era 2562(2018) Lotus Lantern Festival in Celebration of the Buddha’s Birthday
Buddhist Era 2562 Lotus Lantern Festival was not only a international festival for global participants but also a place of unity bridging the gap among generations due to high attendance rate of young people. Even with the gloomy weather accompanied by spring rain, large crowd of buddhist followers and international spectators of diverse age groups and nationalities, visited Jongro area near Jogyesa Temple to participate in the Lotus Lantern Festival, a registered national intangible asset, in celebration of the Buddha’s Birthday.
As the National Intangible Asset No. 122 Lotus Lantern Festival was held in the rain for the first time in 24 years, 10,000 Buddhist followers prayed for reconciliation between the Two Koreas and for world peace. On May 12, Dharma Ceremony and the ritual of bathing a baby Buddha statue were held with 10,000 participants at the stadium of Dongguk University. During the opening remarks, Ven. Seol Jeong, the Chairperson of the Buddha’s Birthday Celebration Committee has stated that “Through the Intra-Korean summit, the bars between our people are slowly being unlatched. Through the North Korea-U.S. summit, the spring of peace we have dreamed will be spread to the whole world. I am certain that the walls built with all types of ideologies and prejudices will be torn down and ”Korea with happiness for all“ will be constructed by our people.” Ven. Seol Jeong added, “If we have faith in the fact that we are Buddha, recover the original pure mind, and live with a sincere heart, everyone we meet will be bodhisattva and everywhere we go will be the pure land of utmost bliss.” With the declaration by Ven. Bokwang, the President of Dongguk University, the lantern festival began to march reaching Dongdaemun around 7 pm and heading toward Jongro area. Jongro area transformed into a festive environment with 100,000 participants and spectators.
At the festival one could see lanterns in 19 different shapes of lotus lantern, crane, fish, traditional lamp and lion inspired by “Craft Art of North Korea”, a magazine published in 1956. Buddhist followers of Thailand, Taiwan, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Nepal also participated with lanterns of their own tradition. Especially, Sri Lankan Stupa Lantern, Nepalese Buddha Lantern and Queen Maya Lantern attracted attention of the spectators.
Next day, many citizens and international visitors came near Jogyesa with their family to participate in traditional cultural experience and events. Following the day when lotus lanterns brightened the world in the rain, many local and international visitors made special memories experiencing Korean Buddhist and traditional culture on a sunny spring day without micro-dust thanks to the rain.
In front of Jogyesa, 6 different areas and around 130 booths were installed for food, traditional events, exchange of international Buddhist communities and promotion of Buddhist NGOs providing enjoyment for all five senses of the visitors.
At two special stages (Gonpyeong and Anguk), various performances including Flash Mob, Lion Dance, Seonmudo, Namsadang Nori, Belly Dance were demonstrated attracting the attention of passersby.
At 7 pm, “Yeondeung Nori”, the last event of Buddhist Era 2562 Lotus Lantern Festival in Celebration of the Buddha’s Birthday was held. From the Anguk rotary, the participants walked with lotus lanterns passing through Insadong and Jonggak all the way to Jogyesa Temple dancing to Buddhist songs sincerely celebrating the Buddha’s Birthday together.