Buddha’s Birthday – Seoulistic

Buddha’s Birthday

석가 탄신일 (seokga tanshinil) aka 부처님 오신날 (bucheonim osinnal)

May 29th, 2018

Even if you’re not a Buddhist, Buddha’s Birthday is still something everyone can enjoy. It’s one of the biggest holiday’s in Korea as Buddhism was a major force in shaping what Korea is today. It’s also a great opportunity to see ancient tradition and culture still alive in hyper modern Seoul.

During Buddha’s birthday, you can experience cultural festivities at many of Korea’s temples, at Cheonggyecheon stream and even on the streets. The festivities usually take place a week before Buddha’s actual birthday. And throughout the week, you can partake in cultural experiences at Buddhist temples.


Lotus Lantern Parade

The Lotus Lantern parade is the main attraction for Buddha’s Birthday. It starts at Dongguk University, a major Buddhist university in Korea. There you can watch dances and performances. From there the parade starts, with large illuminated floats of Buddhist lore, peaceful monks wearing half smiles like the Buddha, and university performance troupes that dance their way down Jongno. It’s a beautiful sight to see people celebrate the man who changed the course of the Korea, Asia and the world.

The parade usually starts around 7PM.
Get off at Jonggak Station to be right in the middle of the action.

Jogyesa Temple

Even though Jogyesa Temple is where the parade ends, it’s one of the main attractions during the week leading up to Buddha’s Birthday. At Jogyesa Temple, you can see the lanterns hung up throughout the temple that represent the hopes and prayers of local residents. You can also hang up your own hopes and wishes as well. The lanterns are a beautiful array of colors


Keith Kim is a Korean-American who has been living in Korea for almost a decade. Being in a unique position as both a Korean and a non-Korean, he's put all his experience and knowledge for surviving in Korea in Survival Korean . Read it to learn how you can survive in Korea. Follow him on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.