Lotus Lantern Festival

According to Buddhist belief, “the lighting of a lotus-shaped lantern symbolizes a devotion to performing good deeds and lighting up the dark parts of the world that are filled with agony.”

So 2 Sundays ago, a group of other waygook friends and I headed to Insadong in Seoul, to make our own little do-good lanterns, and light up the dark parts of our souls which have been suffering due to much drama of late.

It was one of the best “free events” I have attended in Korea so far. Up to 200 foreigners, all seated comfortably, under the welcome shade of a long libe of tents, set about making traditional lotus lanterns.

With the wonderful guidance of the friendly and helpful monks, we’re were told to pick 2 or 3 colors which would be our lotus petals. Each stack of pleated, curved paper, once carefully separated, produces up to 30 petals.  Each petal is then gently held and the tip is twisted with a little paste to form a point.

Once you have twisted and applied points to all 90 petals, you can set about gluing the petals onto your paper and wire frame, being as creative with the color contrast as you like. The whole process takes between one and 2 hours, and quite a bit of patience!! 

Feeling tired from the DJ Festival the night before, I finished mine quickly and set about in search of ice-cream! En route I came across so many awesome sites I couldn’t possible blog about them all. A true feast for all the senses.

From 3 Tibetan monks sitting in a small triangle doing a traditional painting, to children attempting to jump over 2 gigantic skipping ropes and getting involved in other cultural activities. There were koreans in traditional hanbok, live music performances and traditional dancing all the way down the street.

There was a wide range of arts and crafts for both kids and adults including opportunities to paint small buddhas, construct paper temples, make your own incense or your won candle from scratch and delicious temple cuisine from all over the world…not to mention the fact that the streets and local Jongno temple were lined with a rainbow of beautiful lotus lanterns. The whole area was simply breathtaking.

4 thoughts on “Lotus Lantern Festival

  1. I really like the photo of the monks doing the traditional painting. Did you get a look at the sticks they are using to paint? Are they hollow, and were they putting the paint in the top?

    1. Yea they were hollow. They had their eyes closed and were very patiently tapping the sticks. I thought it was paint too, but doing a bit of research I was wondering if maybe it was actually very fine sand…. Hmmmm

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