As predicted, the Lotus Lantern Festival in celebration of Buddha's birthday was amazing. There had been traditional Korean festivities, lantern making, and more Korean food than you can shake a stick at all day long in downtown Seoul.
By the time we arrived the day time festivities were winding down, the sun was setting, the rain was starting and the evening festivities were gearing up in spite of the cold and wet weather. We wandered around for a little while and explored the temple and what was left of the day time festivities and the settled in to watch what I consider to be the main attraction... the parade!
This is a picture of some of the pillars at the temple, as well as some of the lanterns that were hanging in the immediate area surrounding a the temple. The lanterns actually have Korean writing in the pattern. Cool!
After a full day of festivities the parade kicked off at 7:00pm and was everything that you'd ever imagine such a parade would be. There were millions of people watching, thousands of people marching, colourful displays of everything from fire-breathing dragons to Buddha riding in Thomas the Tank Engine. Marching bands, drummers and traditional musicians provided musical entertainment while dancers, high school students, people dressed as Buddha, monks, soldiers, small children, people from a hospital being pushed in wheel chairs walked, danced and rolled by while waving and smiling at the crowd. I was particularly impressed by a group of ladies wearing traditional Korean hanbok who all danced very gracefully while walking in the parade, as well as a troupe of men preforming stick-taekwondo with flag poles.
Having been plenty excited about the Christmas Parade in St. John's for the majority of my life, I was pretty much beside myself with glee as the parade wore on. It went on and on for a full two hours, and I was jumping up and down, clapping my hands, and I'm somewhat ashamed to admit, occasionally shrieking with excitement. I felt more like someone about to turn four, not twenty-four, but I digress.
What I've been trying to avoid admitting all along, is that I couldn't bring my camera to the parade, and all the other pictures? Yeah.. they're not mine either... are you mad? Please don't be mad... Ah.. I knew you weren't!
My camera was left in school over the weekend because I had brought it to class on Friday to take this video for one of the other teachers that was sick. It's completely adorable so I'll show it to you to make up for it, and I'll continue to steal my friends pictures of the festival to put on a future post. So, without further ado, I present you, Kiwi class:
Please don't be sick.
We miss you.
I love you x 11.