Buddha’s Birthday in South Korea

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Want to know more about Buddha’s Birthday in South Korea? You came to the right spot. We even share a few of the inconveniences that may surprise you.

About Buddha’s Birthday

Buddha’s Birthday does not fall on the same day each year according to the Gregorian Calendar. Instead, the holiday follows the Lunar Calendar. Specifically, Buddha’s Birthday in Korea falls on the 8th day of the 4th month of the Lunar Calendar.

Buddha’s Birthday is a ‘red day’ or public holiday on the Korean calendar. A ‘red day’ means that salaried employees have a paid day off for Buddha’s Birthday. Much like Christmas in the western world, both religious and non-religious people enjoy celebrating this holiday dedicated to an important religious historical figure.

Things to Do for Buddha’s Birthday

Participating in the following activities may create a well-rounded Buddha’s Birthday experience.

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Attend a Parade of Lanterns Festival

Cities across South Korea may offer a “Parade of Lantern Festival” on Buddha’s Birthday. Although Seoul offers the most well-known festival, many other cities offer equally impressive festivals with far smaller crowds.

Visit a Local Temple

Additionally, visiting temples during Buddha’s Birthday might be the perfect chance to focus and reflect on time in Korea. Temples will be decorated with beautiful paper lanterns. The following video takes you deeper into the customs and meaning of Buddha’s Birthday.

Temple Etiquette for Visiting Temples in Korea

Temples in South Korea exist as active sites of worship. Although the public may visit temples, just like they visit mosques or cathedrals, it is important to honor customs and traditions. South of Seoul compiled a Temple Etiquette to make it easier to honor the religious traditions of Korean Buddhism. Readying this before visiting temples can help make the experience more comfortable for everyone.

Everyone can make mistakes. Even the president of South Korea has offended some monks for not being aware of all aspects of etiquette.

Learn More About Buddhism in South Korea

Religions change based on culture, language, and country. In Korea, Buddhism developed differently than in other countries. The following videos take a deeper look into Buddhism in South Korea.

Highlights of Buddha’s Birthday

Korea feels downright festive in the time leading up to this much loved and celebrated holiday. Cities and temples decorate with lovely lanterns and put up displays. Since the holiday usually also means a long vacation, there is often a sense of excitement in the air. Plus, Buddha’s Birthday comes in May when people are ready to get back outside after a long cold winter.

Basically, people across Korea feel ready to celebrate life and get excited about being outside and reflecting on life’s journey. It can be the perfect holiday to connect with friends and meditate on the meaning of life.

Inconveniences Surrounding Buddha’s Birthday

Obviously, any of the following inconveniences may or may not occur depending on where you live in South Korea and the current social climate. However, the awareness that the following issues may occur may allow you to better plan ahead and avoid stress. Inconveniences occur more often in highly populated places and at locations that invest a great deal of money in marketing events nationally and internationally.

Since Buddha’s Birthday usually falls on a long weekend, many travel-related inconveniences may occur:

  • Expect bad traffic. Families travel all over the place for events and fun activities during this holiday. Don’t expect to get anywhere fast.
  • Expect hectic parking. Holidays usually mean circling the parking lot or neighborhood a few times before you find a place. Give yourself extra time if you need to go somewhere.
  • Expect booking travel to be harder. Buddha’s Birthday tends to create a long holiday weekend. This means hotels, trains, and buses all across Korea may be booked.
  • Expect higher prices. Higher booking rates also may mean higher than usual rates for hotels and rental cars.
  • Expect crowded spaces. If you attend events and activities related to Buddha’s birthday you may find yourself in large than usual crowds. This includes hiking near temples.