Lotus Lantern Festival


Tuesday, May 10th marked Buddha's Birthday, which is a huge celebration and national holiday here in Korea. Of the 49 million people in South Korea, 10 million are Buddhists (8.6 million are Protestants and 5.1 million are Catholics, just in case you're wondering), so you can imagine how big the festivities were over the weekend. Not to mention, Children's Day and Parents' Day were on Thursday and Sunday, respectively, so it was a big weekend of celebrations indeed.

Saturday evening, I met up with some friends (Jamie, Hallie, Phil & two of his friends) near the Jonggak station exit, where the entire street was closed off for a parade. Thankfully, Jamie and Hallie secured a few prime spots in the front row, so by the time we all met up, we had a great view. I couldn't tell you how long the parade went for because we left a little early to beat the crowds. But it was definitely longer & bigger than any parade I've ever experienced. Nonetheless, it was a lot of fun to see all the beautiful lantern floats and to wave and high-five those who marched in the parade. Most of the time, their attention would go to the white people sitting next to us (pardon my not being pc) and ignore us (meaning me and Jamie) altogether.

At one point, as I was violently waving my hand back and forth to be high-fived or even slightly acknowledged, a girl in the parade ran up to Phil's friend, who is white, and said, "I love you!!!!!!!!" and walked right past me. I'm telling you, if you're white and you want to feel exotic and be celebrated purely for the color of your skin, come to Korea. You will be asked to take pictures with teenage girls and you'll regularly be told "I love you" by complete strangers. One time when Mark and I were in a taxi, the driver told Mark he was very handsome, not once, not twice, but FIVE times. And he said Mark was like Nicholas Cage...I'm not sure if Mark took that as a compliment or not. His smile went away pretty quickly.

Anyway, here are some photos I took throughout the parade. You can view the rest here:




[Phil with his new toy]



[Some floats got really fancy...this one was spewing fire]




[Jamie's face the whole time :)]


 Looks beautiful, huh? It was! All the lit up lanterns were magical and it was fun to be a kid again, waving at each and every person that went by. 

Until next time, bisous <3


Julie said...

Super pretty!! Raya loved checking out the pics!! awesome :)

Susan said...

I loved that Jamie was that happy the whole time, waving and excited. How magical. So glad you're getting to experience so much of Korea.