Buddha’s Birthday

lantern festival 067

The biggest holiday in South Korea is Buddha’a Birthday.

It was very hard for me to adjust to different holidays. Thanksgiving, Halloween, and Easter passed without note. The 4th of July was just another day.

Living in a new culture means adjusting to new holidays.

As it turned out, Buddha’s birthday was my favorite.


All the temples put up these beautiful lanterns, which are multi-colored. Of course the temples are beautiful on their own, but the addition of the lanterns adds a festive and colorful touch to already impressive surroundings.


I went to Bonamsa Temple because they had a lantern-making class. Anyone could show up and make a set of lanterns to celebrate the occasion.

I put my lanterns together with some friends. This is me (below) with my friend Coleen Monroe, another teacher at Avalon.

We only meant to put together some lanterns and celebrate, but the Koreans pushed us into a line of people.

Jenifer DeLemont

We soon learned that the cluster of people we were moved towards were park of the parade through Seoul.

Although it wasn’t the plan, we ended up marching in the parade. And because Koreans love to see foreigners doing Korean things, the TV cameras followed us as we marched.

So, without intending to, I was in a surprise parade.