Yesterday, Dave and I spent the entire day in Insadong. We took a cooking class (more details to come on that), learned how to make lotus lanterns (more to come on that as well), and watched the Lotus Lantern Parade. Because we were there all day, we were able nab front row seats for the festivities. It was the longest parade either of us had ever sat through, but being that it was our first lantern parade we sat through the entire thing and enjoyed every moment. The parade was in honor of Buddha’s birthday and was full of smiling monks and nuns, women in gorgeous hanbok (traditional Korean dresses), and many, many lanterns both big and small.
As the parade moved by us, we clapped and waved at the parade participants. In between clapping and waving, I snapped some pictures. Toward the end, people walking in the parade started giving the small lanterns away to onlookers. I was lucky to receive two lanterns, one of which I shared with a friend who wasn’t able to get any because there were two small children squatting in front of her who kept snagging all the lanterns.
In the winter, we had gone to a lantern festival where large lanterns were anchored down in the middle of a river. People slowly walked on either side to take a look at the beautiful handiwork. Unfortunately for me, I was too short to see over people and not motivated enough to forcefully push my way to the front. It was too crowded and not exciting enough to make it all worthwhile. We had kind of expected a similar experience going into the festival yesterday, but were pleasantly surprised by how wonderful it was. It wasn’t overwhelmingly crowded because the parade was spread out over quite a distance, we were able to get seats and good ones at that, and I could actually see the lanterns. Plus, the parade was so long that by the end of it, half of the crowd had left already so it wasn’t chaos when we went down into the subway. It was a great event and I’m thrilled we were there for it.