Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Lotus Lantern Festival

The Lotus Lantern Festival took place the weekend before Buddha's Birthday. I didn't see much of the festival, really, but I wasn't really there for the festival. I was there for the MASSIVE LANTERN PARADE!!! Some people aren't impressed by things deemed "MASSIVE." Perhaps its because such people grew up in places where everything is really big. But to me, the term MASSIVE is not to be used lightly. And I assure you, it wasn't. But, let's start at the beginning.

I journeyed towards the Lantern Festival on my own, ill-prepared. I had expected it to be like the Cherry Blossom Festival, where you could just follow the stream of people from the subway to the festival. My friend Sophie had to rescue me- I was at the wrong subway stop. But I made it. Upon arrival, I was gifted with a lotus lantern. It was very open and beautiful and pink. I love gifts. Even if there are a lot of other people getting them too, and even if they cause an inconvenience in that I have to lug them around all day, gifts are fantastic.

Once I met up with Sophie and her friends, we started walking away from the lanterns and towards... PINEAPPLE ON A STICK!!! It's one of my favorite things that I had no idea existed. Pineapple on a stick is better than just plain pineapple because its just as delicious as regular pineapple but the stick makes it more fun to eat and probably easier to eat as well.

After pineapple on a stick and some tea, I met up with my BFF Zach (perhaps you should check out our BFFBlog: http://www.bffbinkorea.blogspot.com/) and new coworker Kaleen (Flagler College Whoop! Whoop!). We went back to the lantern station and tried to make our own lanterns.

Kaleen and I did okay, but Zach's was SPECTACULAR. His lantern was so amazing that the lady who was helping us gave him her own lantern. She said she just couldn't bear to look at her mediocre lantern anymore, knowing that such an incredible one existed (or something like that. It's hard to tell- English was her 2nd language.). It was really sad for her.
(Zach, Me, Kaleen Showing off our lanterns for some Korean guys in the park. I won't say who made what.)

(Zach as a lantern handed creature.)
Soon after, we met up with more friends and the parade began. I know that whatever I say about this parade will not even begin to describe how massive and amazing it was. I think it took about an hour and 15 minutes to pass. Maybe a little more. Its been a few weeks now (I should have blogged right when I got home, then you would have been able to feel my excitement). There were probably thousands of people in this parade, walking by with lanterns (although I am not usually good with estimates, this feels right). There were tons of huge beautiful lantern floats shaped like elephants, or dragons, or Buddha, or peacocks. Some floats had moving parts or breathed fire! It was exciting and beautiful. I don't have many photos because my camera died but I found these videos on youtube that I implore you to watch. They are not that long and extremely impressive.

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