Buddha’s Birthday, a festive day of commemorating the birth of Gautama Buddha, is on Wed, May 19. Buddha’s Birthday is celebrated on April 8 on the lunar calendar and falls on a different day each year. As a national holiday of Korea, it is celebrated not just as a Buddhist festival, but also as a nationwide festival with a long history. Many participate in traditional events such as lotus lantern lighting and parade to celebrate the day.
A major event of Buddha’s Birthday is the Lotus Lantern Festival where you light up lanterns to celebrate the birth of Gautama Buddha on April 8 based on the lunar calendar. Lighting lanterns means illuminating the world with the light of truth for a warmer, more equal and prosperous world. A wide range of festival lanterns are made by participants, and lantern-making activities are prepared independently by organizations joining the event. Participants put time and effort to create their lanterns, which enables all participants to be more engaged. The Lotus Lantern Festival was listed as an Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO in 2020. The festival was highly recognized as a heritage that embraces cultural differences by breaking barriers of nation, race, religion and disability. It is also a time to share delights and strengthen solidarity to deal with crisis. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s event will be held online.