Lantern Festival

Tunnel Vision

Vlog Entry #6: Lantern Festival – Jinju, South Korea

During the first weekend of October I went to the Lantern Festival in Jinju! To read more about the festival, view the related post here!

2014 Jinju Lantern Festival

Located in the south central part of Korea, Jinju is a small city of just 300,000 people. But for ten days a year, nighttime traffic is bumper-to-bumper and walking the streets means shuffling, wading and weaving through crowds of people. Why? The Jinju Namgang Yudeong (Lantern) Festival.

‘Since 2005′: Jinju Revisited

My childhood neighborhood felt like my entire world, mostly Field Avenue and Mohawk Avenue, and it felt like that was always the way things ever were. The more I branched out, to Minnesink Blvd. and, gasp, Delaware Avenue (where all the bad kids lived), the less mystical the other end of Field Avenue began to feel (the area where the road ends and leads up to the railroad tracks, what we called “The Jumps” back in the day). Going back now, they’re just roads.

Mostly. Thinking now, trying to put my head in its three-year-old, four-year-old, five-year-old space, I feel a little of what I felt then, when every corner was a new world, where even a five-minute-walk down the road could be something special.

Such was the case when, on Saturday, I was in Jinju for the first time in eight years.

석가탄신일, 삼광사 (Buddha’s Birthday, Samgwang Temple)

The lights go on

 I had met Miju after school and we headed from Seomyeon to the  streets of Choeup-dong in a taxi. We arrived at the final junction and hopped out of the cab. At the base of a simple T-junction seven Korean police officers, two “best-driver” taxi drivers and three retired military men (but dressed ready, John Terry style) were over-effectively directing the two-way traffic (the side-road was closed) with their annoying whistles and fluorescent batons. At the top of the side-road lay Samgwangsa one of the most important Buddhist Temples and possibly one of the largest in the region.

24 hours in Seoul

Samgwangsa Under a Blanket of Lanterns

Learn Korean

Set at the foot of the Baegyangsan Mountain in central Busan, Samgwangsa is a massive temple which can accommodate 10,000 worshipers. And there were approximately that many present when we visited on a balmy May evening shortly before Buddha’s birthday.

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