Thursday, April 30, 2009

Jogyesa Temple

This upcoming weekend is Buddha's Birthday, which is a huge event in Korea. To celebrate the holiday, there was huge lantern festival on Jongno, but unfortunately because of other plans I seemed to miss every event that went on. I was so disappointed that I went to Insadong/ Jogyesa temple Tuesday night to try to catch any remnants of the festival. First stop was Jogyesa Temple.
The place was totally decked out in lanterns. It was really a spectacular sight. I also sat in for a few minutes on a prayer service that was going on inside one of the temple buildings. I took this photo (from the outside through a window, don't worry). I sat right by this Buddha and listened to the monk's chanting. It was really sort of surreal.

These white lanterns are for the deceased.

After walking around the temple for a while, we headed to Insadong for dinner. we had a sort of more traditional meal of dwingchan jjigae, beef and kimchi and lots and lots of side dishes. Then we headed down to the chongyechong to see if any of the giant lanterns were still down there.

Evidently they had already been taken down. But, it was still really pretty down there. And even at 10:30 at night there were so many people!

Here's me!

Incidentally, on the way to the stream, my boyfriend convinced me to go to one of those photo booths... well.. here it's not really a photo booth, it's more of a store full of photo booths. He got so excited when we passed by that there was no way I could have said no. We paid 5,000 won and it took 6 photos. They had all sorts of hats and wigs to wear. Then, on top of that, once you took the photos you could decorate them and make them look ridiculous and cutesie. It was a little over the top, but it was so quintessential Korea that I guess it had to happen eventually. I feel a little more Korean every day..... And starting tomorrow, I'll be starting classes at a Korean language hagwon... so maybe I'll actually be able to speak with some sort of fluency instead of stammering over numbers and reading dialogues. ^^

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