Sunday, 1 May 2016

Seoul's Lotus Lantern Parade: Where To Pick A Spot?

It's Buddha's birthday soon, and thousands are expected to line up along the main Jongno street again to watch the most colorful and most popular parade in Seoul! The lotus lantern parade!

On a few occasions, I was able to watch the parade along the main Jongno street, joining the thousands who stood there for hours as the participants in their colorful costumes and lanterns paraded and fascinated everyone on one cool spring evening.

A couple of years ago, I excused myself from the tennis session that Saturday afternoon and headed down to Dongkuk University where the participants danced and cheered before the actual parade.

It was a sight to behold at the Dongkuk University grounds. It was a sea of colors. The cheerfulness of everyone and those neon and pastel colors of their intricately looking and diaphanous costumes made the atmosphere and experience special. Everyone really put an effort to impress and regale that day. 

Maybe this time, I will try and claim a spot along the main Jongno street and watch the parade from there.
But I should be early as I am sure thousands of other spectators have the same idea as mine.

The parade will start from the Dongkuk University grounds and follow the route down the Jangchung-dong area, going towards the Dongdaemun Design Plaza and will turn left at the main Jongno Street. By the time it reaches the main Jongno Street, the darkness will have fallen and the brightness and colors of the lanterns will have captured and enamoured everyone. The parade ends up at the Jogyesa Temple after it turns right at the Jonggak Tower.

But if you want to watch the Eoulim Madang, or the cheering and dance performances, at the Dongkuk University grounds before the parade, you can just take the subway and head to Dongkuk University Station (Line 3) and follow the crowds as you get out of Exit 6. You should be there at 4PM.

I remember last year, I treated myself to a bowl of yummy patpingsu at Taekgukdang bakery right next to Exit 2 of the Dongkuk University Station after the parade. Taegukdang is a very old bakery dating back to 1946, and it has been a favorite of mine. 

But since I plan to be at the crowded Jongno street this time, I wonder if I could find a patpingsu place after. If not, then maybe something from the Gwangjang Market will do.

So, if you're watching the parade next weekend, too, have fun! And make sure you have your powerbank for your smartphone! Because you will be taking a lot of photos!

These photos were from taken as the parade was just taking off from Dongkuk University.

Enjoy the lotus lantern festival and parade, everyone!

Here's the link to the official lotus lantern parade schedule. In the link, you'll find the route of the parade and you can decide which spot to watch it from.

           (My patpingsu at Taegukdang bakery 
                         after the parade.)