The first three day weekend, Kelly, Sarah, and I headed up to Seoul for the Lantern Festival in honor of Buddha's Birthday (yes, the celebration was held on the Children's Day weekend, which confused me for a bit, but thankfully this was cleared up). The festival itself featured performers and information stands about aspects of Buddhist culture--everything from a company that makes meat substitutes for vegetarians specific to Korean cuisine to a meditation practice tent led by an American female Buddhist monk who has lived, studied, and taught in her Korean monastery for 10 years.
The street festival stretched all the way down to Jogyesa, a small temple in downtown Seoul that was completely covered with lanterns. Most of them were the traditional circular, brightly colored lanterns I've seen in temples all over Korea. Over the main courtyard, they were arranged to look like a lotus flower, which was particularly beautiful at night after the parade.
We had dinner at a traditional Korean restaurant in Insadong (the traditional market area I went to with Se Jin in February), and then met up with Amanda and Good Man for ice cream at McDonald's and viewing the evening parade.
The parade was beautiful. Mostly it was different groups carrying different styles and shapes of lanterns. There were also some performers and a few larger floats on cars or other platforms. Since it was raining (a little), nighttime in a city (with the associated light pollution from nearby shops), and crowded, getting good pictures was difficult. I sorted through over 600 I took all day and put the best 50 of them in the album below.
Yes, I live in Asia. Just in case I needed the reminder.
A fantastic day.