Happy Birthday Buddha!
It’s Buddha’s birthday and all of Korea has become brighter.
A countless (and I really mean a countless) number of lanterns has popped up in every city and town throughout the country. These dazzling, chromatic displays of lanterns are put together each year to commemorate the birth of Buddha. The date of this national holiday varies according to the lunisolar calendar, although, it usually falls within April or May. You can view the exact dates for future celebrations here.
What better way to celebrate one of the most beautiful holidays in Korea than at one of the country’s most beautiful temples?
Nestled between the hills of Baekyang Mountain in Busan, lies Samgwangsa Temple. This is by far the most incredible temple I have visited while living in Korea.
Tens of thousands? Hundreds of thousands?! Millions?! I mean, I tried to count all of the lanterns on display at the temple, but kept becoming dizzied at the thought of the people in charge of having to put up and take down every single one of them (seriously, can you imagine?!). Whoever you are, thank you for helping to create one of the most magical evenings I’ve experienced in Korea!
Every walkway and staircase throughout the temple grounds were covered by enchanting blankets of glowing, multicoloured lights.
But, the most enchanting part of the whole temple was the view looking down on it from the top of the hill.
*I ate a bunch of shrimp tacos before conquering this hill, which made the climb slightly more taxing. But, I’m so glad I persevered.
Arrive before sunset to soak up all of the beauty the temple has to offer both during the day and at night. Try avoiding eating a bunch of shrimp tacos before arriving.
HOW TO GET THERE:
Seomyeon station on line 1. From here, either take the 15 bus to the Samgwangsa Temple stop or take a taxi for about ₩5,000 KRW.
In Korea for Buddha’s Birthday?
CELEBRATE at Samgwangsa or at any of the many thousand Buddhist temples scattered throughout the country (seriously, they’re everywhere!).
Here are some of Korea’s most notable temples that put on amazing displays for the big day:
- Beomeosa Temple
- Haedong Yonggungsa Temple
- Bulguksa Temple
- Tongdosa Temple
- Bongeunsa Temple
- Lotus Lantern Festival (Yeon Deung Hoe)
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