Tag Archives: Buddha’s Birthday

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Video: Buddha’s Birthday at Bulguksa, Tongdosa and Sinseonsa Temples

 

Since we’ve been on the topic of Buddha’s Birthday lately, I thought I’d post a few HD videos shot at a few of the Buddhist temples around Gyeongju this year on Buddha’s Birthday, aka Seokga Tansinil (석가탄신일). Rob Fioretta, my coworker at Gyeongju University, was kind enough to share with me the video he took of the lantern parade at Gyeongju’s famous and historical Bulguksa (불국사) Temple that night. The lantern parade on Buddha’s Birthday is my favorite time to visit Bulguksa (in fact, it’s one of the few times it’s not filled with hoards of screaming school kids and bus tours) and the atmosphere there is very magical. I’ve been three times since I moved to Gyeongju, though I haven’t shot any new video since 2008. The quality of that old video is pretty lo-fi, so thanks Rob for the update ;-) read more »

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Buddha’s Birthday at Sinseonsa (신선사) Temple on Mt. Danseoksan (단석산)

Miruk Grotto at Sinseonsa Temple, Mt. Danseoksan, Gyeongju

Miruk Grotto at Sinseonsa Temple, Mt. Danseoksan, Gyeongju

Like many things in Gyeongju, I’ve been meaning to write about Mt. Danseoksan for a while, but I’ve been too busy to get around to it.  However, celebrating Buddha’s Birthday, or Seokga Tansinil (석가탄신일), yesterday at the ancient stone grotto of Mirukgul (미룩굴) on Mt. Danseokan has given me the best reason I’m probably going to get.  Located about 10 km south-west of Gyeongju City, Mt. Danseoksan is officially part of Gyeongju National Park and is famous for its history, legends and natural beauty.  Literally meaning “Split Rock Mountain,” Mt. Danseoksan is, in fact, named after one such ancient story involving the famed Silla general Kim Yu-sin. read more »

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Buddha’s Birthday (석가탄신일) at Yeongheungsa Temple (영흥사), May 2010

Buddha's Birthday at Yeongheungsa Temple, Gyeongju

Buddha's Birthday at Yeongheungsa Temple, Gyeongju

In case you missed it the last few dozen times I’ve said it, let me just say again:  Buddha’s Birthday is my favorite holiday in Korea.  On Buddha’s Birthday, or “Seokgatanshinil” (석가탄신일) as it’s called in Korean, the Buddhist faithful hang lanterns bearing prayers and wishes all around the temples, which serve free vegetarian Bibimbap for lunch or dinner.   The larger temples often host free concerts and cultural performances in the afternoon, but what really makes Buddha’s Birthday special for me is the Lantern Parade held after sundown at historical temples like Bulguksa and Tongdosa. read more »

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2011 Spring Events: Cherry Blossoms, Marathon, Liquor Festival, Martial Arts and More

Gyeongju Cherry Blossoms

Gyeongju Cherry Blossoms

It’s finally beginning to feel a bit like spring around Gyeongju, which means we’re just days away from that magical season when the cherry trees begin to bud and then blossom.  Entire streets in Gyeongju turn into marshmallow wonderlands and romantic couples stroll through flurries of pink petals.  I already posted last spring on some of the best places in town to check out the cherry blossoms, like at Kim Yu-shin’s tomb and the ruins of Banwolseong fortress, so I won’t repeat myself here.  Korea’s wizards of meteorology have gazed into their crystal balls and have predicted Gyeongju’s cherry flowers (벚꽃)  will begin blossoming between now and April 8th and that the peak season this year should be April 6th – 15th. read more »

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Top 10 Events Around Gyeongju in 2011

Daeboreum Full Moon Bonfire Festival 2010

Daeboreum Full Moon Bonfire Festival 2010

It seems like local events have a way of sneaking up on me around here.  I try my best, but I have a way of hearing about them right before, or worse, just after they happen.  As my New Year’s resolution is to get a head of things for a change, here’s a list of my top 10 local events to look forward to during the next year:

1. Daeboreum (대보름) Full Moon Bonfire Festival: Slated this year for Thursday Feb. 17th, Daeboreum celebrates the first full moon after Solnal (설날), or the Lunar New Year.  If it’s anything like years past, the city government will set up a huge bonfire in the parking lot by the river, across from the Express (시위) Bus Terminal.  Around 5:30 or 6:00 pm they’ll light up the bonfire, and while it burns people play “gangang  sulae” (강강수래) folk games and sing songs.  It’s a fun evening out so bring your camera or just come and join in the games. read more »

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Special Events for Buddha’s Birthday (석가탄신일): Friday, May 21st

Coming up in about a week and a half is my absolute favorite holiday in Korea: Seokga Tanshinil (석가탄신일), or Buddha’s Birthday.   Every temple in Korea celebrates Buddha’s Birthday one way or another.  Most hang lanterns, have special ceremonies and serve a special group lunch or dinner for parishioners.  A few of the larger or more historically important temples will host special musical performances or hold a lantern parade in the evening, just after sun down.

This year, Seokga Tanshinil falls on Friday, May 21st.  In Gyeongju, there are 3 particularly special events that happen for Buddha’s Birthday that shouldn’t be missed.  If you’ve got a car, or you’re adventurous with public transit, you could easily hit all 3: read more »

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Buddha’s Birthday Lantern Parade

Ok, so even though it’s over 6 months away, I’ve got to say something about my favorite Korean holiday: Buddha’s Birthday (Seoktanil).   On the night of Buddha’s Birthday, most major temples hold a lantern parade.  I’ve had the pleasure of catching it at several Buddhist temples over the years and I have to say it’s one of the coolest things I’ve experienced here in Korea.

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