Happy Birthday Sid. Today marks the 2575th birthday of Shakiyamuni Buddha. Though Korea is a predominantly Christian nation now, Buddhism still holds fast to second place. The history of Buddhism in Korea can still be seen in its architecture, museums and especially places like Dongguk University, a Buddhist university in downtown Seoul. This of course is the perfect place to take in the week long festivities celebrating Siddhartha's birthday.
With a crowd of thousands, many of which were monks, temple patrons and the families of lay buddhists and tourists, gathered for the opening ceremonies. Music, chants and dances kicked off a day long festival of paper lanterns, parades and general merriment.
The lanterns were colorful and many were rather cutely created. The crowd of young girls carrying these Angry Birds lanterns was proof of how obsessed Koreans are with that silly game.
The long parades of people walked from the University stadium to the major temple in town. As night fell, the lanterns lit up and the show really began.