Thursday, May 31, 2007

Seoul Lotus Lantern Festival

In Seoul, much like in New York City, there are things going on all the time. This past weekend Rachel and I were lucky enough to attend one of those things that actually turned out to be cool, a "Lotus Lantern Festival".

Sunday morning we met a teacher of ours downtown so she could show us around, and tell us what the festival was all about. We got there and saw a very famous temple with the largest Buddhist statues I have ever seen. Lanterns were hanging everywhere. Parishioners of the temple pay to hang lanterns in their name, and families names, as to appease Buddha. They also hang white lanterns for the souls of family members that have passed on. Mrs. Lee explained it to me as "It's a good business move too." I really liked walking around at the festival because there was such an eclectic group of people there. First off, there were plenty of white people there, which was nice for a change, but there were also Russians, Europeans, Hindu's, Monks, and I'm sure many others. I saw two monks video taping the festival. Who thought there were "tourist monks"? Everything I know about monks, which isn't much, tells me that they don't have video camera's or go on vacations, but I guess I was wrong. After enjoying the different atmosphere we had other other things scheduled which we had to get to.

Mrs. Lee was also nice enough to make reservations for Rachel and I to join in the lotus lantern making competition. At first we just thought it was fun, but then when we heard there were going to be prizes, both of our competitive sides came out. They took almost 2 hours to complete, although Rachel did hers in much less time because she was anti-social during her creation process, but I was trying to meet people, so I took a little longer. But in the end we were both pretty happy with how ours turned out. But then something pretty crazy happened, a news crew came up, and out of all the people there, they interviewed Rachel. She thinks it was because her lantern was so good, I think it was because she was white, and finished while everyone else was still working. But whatever the reason that they chose her, it was pretty funny. Tons of people came over to take pictures, and a few days later she was on the 5 o'clock news...her and her lantern. My lantern was definitely not the best thing I've ever made, but after a rough start, I think it turned out pretty well. Neither of us won any awards, but making the 5 o'clock news has to be the best consolation prize possible.

A few days later Rachel recorded the news at my place. Here it is, enjoy her 5 seconds of fame, and do take notice that I am in the background of the first shot of her. Plus, get a look at the cool festivities from the festival:

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