Every year around Buddha’s birthday Seoul holds Yeon Deung Hoe, it’s lotus lantern festival. The festival is attended by people from all over the world, and although it is originally a buddhist celebration, it has become a celebration of culture too.
Unfortunately, this year the festival was cancelled due to the current circumstances we’re in 😦
According to the official website, the celebration has a history of over 1,200 years, and the next celebration will be held Friday, May 14 – Sunday, May 16, 2021(2565 Buddhist Era).
I headed out with J and a few friends to Jonggak station which dropped us off right outside of the main festival street (exit 2)!
Right away there were so many stalls with things to buy and activities to take part in. Most of the activities are free, whilst some require a small donation to be made. If there are a lot of people around on the day you’re attending, some of the activities require you to register (Especially if we are still socially distancing next year) because of limited seating, so I’d advise having a look around first!
There are a lot of cultural performances going on over the whole weekend, as well as art and music demonstrations. We spent much longer here than we thought!
One of the main attractions of this festival is Jogyesa temple. Every year it is beautifully decorated for Buddha’s birthday in a rainbow of lanterns. The lanterns stay up for a while after the festival has finished, so you can still visit if you miss the weekend itself!
Please note that Jogyesa temple is still a working place of worship, so please be respectful if you do visit.
Living so far away from Seoul and having to get the 2 hour subway back to Incheon unfortunately meant that we had to leave early. We headed off to Insadong (one of my favorite hangout spots!) to grab something to eat before we went home. As we were coming out of the restaurant we noticed that we were just in time to see Yeondeungnori, the farewell celebration parade! ( Not even planned!)
Beautiful hand made lanterns are paraded down Insadong street and the surrounding areas. A wonderful thing to experience!
I really hope next year we will be able to visit again! Keep an eye on the official website for 2021 updates – http://www.llf.or.kr/eng/
Stay safe. Love you xo.