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Buddha Just Had A Birthday. Who’s Next?

We just celebrated a big birthday. Not mine or Phil’s, but Buddha’s.

Buddha’s birthday is a national holiday. Schools and offices are closed. Streets are lined with colorful lanterns leading to the temples. People flock to the temples to pray, light incense, pour scented water over a statue of Buddha and bang an ancient drum. They also attach wishes to the thousands of paper lanterns strung overhead. This may be like writing a prayer to stick in the Western Wall in Jerusalem, but that is only a guess on my part.

This year, the main event, an enormous lotus lantern parade, was cancelled due to covid. So, when Phil and I headed over the Jogyesa temple in Seoul, we anticipated a low-key experience. Instead, we were greeted by thousands of people of all ages. (with lots of covid protections in place) This short video gives you a little bit of atmosphere. Listen to the ambient sounds to hear some of the music, chanting and drumming.

Whose birthday is next? Mine! I’m turning 60, and if I were in NJ, I would have a big party to share the moment with all of you. Since I’m in Seoul, I invite you all to zoom with me sometime in the next month. Staying in touch is the best gift you can give. (Cake and champagne optional!)

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