Each spring, visitors from all over the world flock to Seoul to attend the Lotus Lantern Festival. Yeon Deung Hoe, as it’s known in Korea, began over 1,300 years ago during the Silla dynasty as an annual celebration to honor the birth of the Buddha. Since that time it has evolved from a purely religious observance to become a major cultural event. This year’s festival combined Korean folk music and folk dancing with high-tech light shows and video displays to create uniquely Korean multimedia performances. Exhibits showcasing everything from Buddhist temple food to traditional Korean costumes, known as hanbok, were also featured. Visitors were encouraged to take part in the festivities by crafting their own holiday decorations at special lantern-making demonstrations. The highlight of the three-day-long celebration is the Lotus Lantern Parade, which winds along Jongno Street from Dongdaemun Gate to Jogyesa Temple. With thousands of participants, each carrying their own lantern, the parade becomes a river of light flowing through the heart of Seoul.
While the origin of the Lotus Lantern Festival is deeply rooted in Korean Buddhism, the values it espouses transcend national and cultural boundaries. Dedication to one’s family, friends, and co-workers is an example of just one of the values given particular emphasis this year. In keeping with this spirit of dedication, Planet Depos CEO Lisa DiMonte made a pilgrimage to Seoul to join the Planet Depos Korea team in expressing their continuing commitment to serving the Korean community, the legal profession, and each other. Together they shared a communal, temple-style meal before joining the candlelight procession toward Jogyesa Temple. Upon reaching their destination, each member of the Planet Depos Korea team rang the temple bell as a gesture of their dedication, while all across the nation over 100,000 lanterns were lighted to symbolically transmit the wisdom and compassion of the Buddha.