DAEGU

Daegu | Hanji Lantern Floating Festival

May 12, 2017

daegu // buddha's birthday lantern festival

This is my favorite time of year in Korea. It’s the season of cherry blossoms, beautiful weather, street food, and glowing lanterns. For the third year in a row, we walked to the Sincheon River park near our apartment and celebrated Buddha’s birthday at one of Daegu’s many lantern festivals.

daegu // buddha's birthday lantern festivaldaegu // buddha's birthday lantern festivaldaegu // buddha's birthday lantern festivaldaegu // buddha's birthday lantern festivaldaegu // buddha's birthday lantern festivaldaegu // buddha's birthday lantern festivaldaegu // buddha's birthday lantern festivaldaegu // buddha's birthday lantern festivaldaegu // buddha's birthday lantern festivaldaegu // buddha's birthday lantern festivaldaegu // buddha's birthday lantern festivaldaegu // buddha's birthday lantern festivaldaegu // buddha's birthday lantern festivaldaegu // buddha's birthday lantern festivaldaegu // buddha's birthday lantern festival

Like two old people, we made our way to the festival before night set in, hoping to avoid the crowds, eat some street food, and return home at a reasonable hour. It was the last day of the festival and the celebratory atmosphere felt a bit more muted than the previous few days, when we could hear singing and see bright lights from the balcony of our apartment.

After stuffing our faces with freshly made gimbap, we crossed a wobbly, make-shift bridge over which hundreds of colorful lanterns arched majestically against the sky. I have walked across this bridge three years in a row now, and it has never failed to take my breath away. As if on cue, I took out my camera phone and snapped a few photos.

“Aren’t you just taking the same photos that you take every year?” Sly asked.

“Yup. And I’m taking even more,” I said.

On the other side of the bridge, Sly purchased a bucket of cold, fried chicken doused in hot sauce and mayo, and we  sat on the edge of the river watching the reflections of the lanterns and the changing sky flicker over the top of the gentle stream. It was hard to believe that this was our third time here, that we had been here two years before. Every year, the lantern festival marked the passing of our time in Korea, and I thought to myself there would soon come a time when we would no longer mark our years with this festival, in this town, on this river. How many more festivals did we have left?

I knew the answer to the question was too few, and as I sat on the river with Sly, I looked up at our apartment, at the mountains behind it, at the city lights off in the distance, and at the arch of candle-like lanterns nearby, and I wanted to squeeze every last second out of that moment. I wanted to remember everything, and despite the impossibility,  I wanted to hold on to that exact time and space and breath of air between us and that purple-golden sunset forever.

Instead, I took more photos.

Previous lantern festivals here, here, and here.

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14 Comments

  • Reply Kim May 13, 2017 at 3:30 am

    What BEAUTIFUL lanterns! Festivals are so fun but not something that happens frequently where I live in the United States, unfortunately. For a second, I thought you were both wearing matching Birkenstock sandals so I was about to die (of joy). I’m just like you where I’ll take photos of the same thing year by year, haha.

    Kim
    Simply Lovebirds

    • Reply veronika May 13, 2017 at 3:14 pm

      We *might* actually have matching Birkenstocks, among other things… Haha. It’s actually a thing here for couples to dress exactly alike – shirt, pants, shoes, everything! We don’t…yet…

  • Reply Kevin May 15, 2017 at 8:50 am

    I don’t know where you’d put it, but it would be neat to own one of those floats.

    Keeping Good Thoughts…

    • Reply veronika May 15, 2017 at 9:02 am

      You mean the floating bridge?

      • Reply Kevin May 15, 2017 at 9:46 am

        One of those dragons/tigers/characters that they put in the water, such as you’re posed in between in one of the pictures. Like I say, I don’t know where you’d put it. Maybe they’d let you keep it docked somewhere.

        Keeping Good Thoughts…

        • Reply veronika May 15, 2017 at 9:48 am

          Ha, yeah. I feel like it wouldn’t be so nice without the water element.

          • Kevin May 15, 2017 at 10:04 am

            You could be right. Maybe they have life size replicas for sale that aren’t quite so life sized, but still have an magical, majestic presence. Something that would fit in a corner.

            Keeping Good Thoughts…

          • veronika May 15, 2017 at 10:22 am

            Maybe I should just build a fairy pond with fairy-sized floating lanterns…

          • Kevin May 15, 2017 at 10:28 am

            You’d need to get a variance for that. Let’s not go overboard.

            Keeping Good Thoughts…

      • Reply Funnelcloud Rachel May 15, 2017 at 12:55 pm

        Personally, I think you should go for the light-up white tiger. Maybe for your yard back in Fairfax? Nothing says “cat lady” like a giant yard tiger…

        • Reply veronika May 15, 2017 at 12:59 pm

          Yard tiger would rule! Except when it rained/snowed etc. and I forgot to bring it inside and ended up ruining it and/or the sun faded it to all white. Which is pretty much the story for every outdoor thing I’ve owned that wasn’t made of plastic.

          • Funnelcloud Rachel May 15, 2017 at 1:29 pm

            Uh, yeah. Everything we bought for our yard after we moved in now contributes to the “Is that an abandoned house?” look we’ve got going on. Faded, splintered furniture behind a 10 foot hedge and vines that threaten to swallow the house are excellent for keeping solicitors away…

  • Reply Jill May 17, 2017 at 3:10 am

    Beautiful photos! I just returned from a visit to my daughter in Seoul – my first visit there – and we attended the Lantern Festival at the Cheonggyecheon Stream. It was crowded and unique and beautiful. I’m so glad I went. And also to Seoul and Jeju.

    • Reply veronika May 17, 2017 at 7:05 am

      Thanks, Jill! I never get tired of lantern festivals in Korea! How did you enjoy your trip to Seoul and Jeju? Did you make it over to Japan at all?

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