Annual lantern parade set to take place in central Seoul at full scale

The annual lantern parade is set to take place in central Seoul on Saturday at full scale ahead of Buddha’s Birthday next week for the first time in four years, organizers said.

The annual parade will begin at Dongdaemun at 7 p.m., and end after arriving at Jogye Temple, the headquarters of South Korea’s largest Buddhist sect, the Jogye Order.

The annual lantern parade, in which tens of thousands of Buddhists carry colorful lanterns of various shapes, provides a spectacle for the crowd coming to enjoy the centuries-old festival.

Also known as “Yeondeunghoe” in Korean, the festival has been held annually in celebration of Buddha’s Birthday on April 8 on the lunar calendar. It was inscribed on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity List in 2020.

For the parade, traffic between Dongdaemun and Jonggak will be controlled both ways from 1 p.m. Saturday to 3 a.m. Sunday.

After the parade, a festival will be held at an intersection near Jonggak subway station, where people can enjoy “ganggangsulae,” a traditional game and dance, and other activities.

Next Saturday, celebrations will be held at temples across the country for Buddha’s Birthday.

The annual parade was canceled for the first time in 40 years in 2020 due to the outbreak of COVID-19. After a two-year hiatus, the parade returned in 2022 but was scaled down amid virus concerns.

But this year, the parade will be held at a similar scale to events held before the pandemic, with about 50,000 Buddhists expected to join, according to the organizers.

Source: Yonhap News Agency