Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Maroon 5 Live in Seoul

On March 7th, we went to the Maroon 5 concert in Seoul.  It was awesome seeing an American band playing in South Korea, and even better yet was hearing all of the Koreans singing along with the songs!

I wasn't aware that the simple "kam-sah-hab-ni-da" (thank you) got so many Koreans excited, they normally don't cheer when I say it................ hmm

Yes there were signs prohibiting camera and recording devices, but this is Asia, no one obeyed and there were many cameras in the air during the concert.  Also, the same with all events in Korea, you can bring in your own beverages and snacks, and no one checked to make sure we were in the right seats, we were definitely not in ours, but in some much better seats!

Everyone, including us, had light saber/wands to wave!

Well you can imagine what the subway was like afterwards............more expats though this time and no crazy ladies pushing their friends on!

It was a great concert and worth bearing this subway ride home!  Thanks for coming to Korea Maroon 5!

Video: Won't Go Home Without You (if viewing in email, click here).

Video: She Will Be Loved (if viewing in email, click here)

Monday, May 19, 2008

Lotus Lantern Festival 2

Lotus Lantern Festival Part 2...

We went to the Insadong area with our friends Marcus and Jenny to check out the Street Festival that was going on during the day before the big parade in the evening.  They had a few city blocks closed to vehicles so various tents could be setup.  There was everything from traditional food to books, face painting, making lanterns, postcards and more.  The Lotus Lantern Festival was for Buddhists all over the world to celebrate, and walking through the festival really felt like a quick tour of the world!

Krista found a tent where they were putting together lanterns for the evening parade, she decided to join in and help!

Krista looked like she was having a good time, so I managed to sneak myself in as well.

Many visitors here are making flower lanterns out of paper.

Marcus and Flat Stanley!

Two skipping ropes were going at once, this person manage to last a few jumps.

Krista and Jenny writing down wishes on paper and tying them to a 40 ft rope attached to a large balloon flying in the air.

Sooo many people!

Jenny, Krista and baby Buddha.

Jon and baby Buddha.

A traditional candy made from grinding herbs, nuts and seeds and pressing them into a mold.  Surprisingly really good!

Marcus and two guys from.... somewhere..

In Insadong there is a tourist shopping mall outside, 3 different levels.

The parade!  It was so beautiful with over 100,000 lanterns!

Video clips of the parade (if viewing in email, click here).

Monday, May 5, 2008

Lotus Lantern Festival

Monday May 5th was Children's Day which gave us a 3 day weekend and a chance to head in to Seoul to check out the annual Lotus Lantern Festival.  The festival commemorates Buddha's Birthday which falls on Monday May 12th this year (giving us another long weekend).  

One of the highlights of the event is the Lantern Parade, where Dragon Lanterns, Pagoda Lanterns, White Elephant Lanterns, Pheonix Lanterns and Lotus Lanterns are all on display. There are dozens of large floats and over 100,000 individual lanterns, the parade offers a breathtaking experience, turning the streets of Seoul into a sea of Lanterns.

Here's some additional information on the various lanterns and their meanings:

Since ancient times, the lighting of lanterns while making wishes or personally making wish-lanterns was a popular event practiced on Buddha’s birthday. Each lantern has it own symbolic meaning, and personal world views or religious views are reflected in the lanterns. 

Big-sized lanterns symbolize justice, and the pattern of dragons and yin and yang are drawn on the lantern to symbolize rich harvests and truth respectively. Fruits rich with seeds like the watermelon symbolize fertility and abundance. The watermelon also symbolizes longevity because of its long stem. 

Other symbols of longevity include garlic, melons, and wild grapes. Animals are frequently used for the designs and shapes of the lanterns, and the crane symbolizes health and longevity as an animal that lives the longest. A dragon symbolizes rich harvests, for it is the god of water, which is essential for farming. The carp symbolizes honor, wealth and longevity.  The unique practice of Yeondeung, lighting of the lantern, is a Buddha offering originating from the Shilla Dynasty (AD 866).  Since 1966 other Buddhist cultures from around the world have joined in this awe inspiring tradition.

Here is a pic of the crowd, there were 100x more people during the actual parade (will be in the next post).

Along with some of the larger lanterns on display, there was also a centre stage with performing acts doing traditional dances that we were breathtaking to watch.

Krista with one of the performers.

Later we managed to find a few empty chairs that we could stand on to take some better photos.

Can you find Krista?

Here is a video of one of the dance performances (for those viewing in email click here).

This next video is a composition of shorter clips (for those viewing in email click here).

Lastly, here is a video of the entire crowd getting their groove on (for those viewing in email click here).

Further down the street was the Jogyesa Temple, on the inside stood 3 tall golden Buddha statues.  On the outside you could see hundreds and hundreds of lanterns being photographed by just as many intrigued visitors. The lanterns are in the pattern of a lotus blossom.

Picture of a baby Buddha on a white lantern.

In addition to the parade, there was also a street festival (pictures will be in another post) that took place May 4th from 12pm-7pm.  For those of you in Seoul that were not able to make it this year, hopefully you have a chance to see it in 2009!  

Jogyesa Temple: Subway Line #1- Jonggak Station, Line #3- Anguk Station
Jongno street: Subway Line #1- Jonggak Station