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Haeundae’s Sand Festival

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The beginning of the summer has hit Busan, and the city seems to be celebrating with a raft of festivals. There’s the International Car Show, a River Sports Festival, an International Dance Festival, a Port Festival, and a Traditional Folk Festival… and this all in the first week of June! We felt a little guilty skipping out on all of them, so decided to check out the Sand Festival at Haeundae Beach.

Sand Art

It was one of the first sunny weekend days of summer, and the beach was packed with people. Not too many of them were there for the Sand Festival, though, and it quickly became apparent why. Where we had expected huge statues made of sand, the sculptures weren’t much more than “paintings” in the sand, carved out of big mounds.

Some of them were quite well done, but we weren’t too impressed and quickly abandoned the festival to spend an extra hour laying on the beach. But we got some great photos worth sharing, and the atmosphere on the beach was a lot of fun… even if we can classify the Sand Festival itself as “skippable”.

Eat Your Kimchi

Sand Festival Busan 2012
Beach Tents
Beach Condo Busan
Sand Castle Busan
Samurai Korea
Sandkasten
Sand Queen
Sand Temple
Sand Warrior
Sargent Frog Korea
Korean Astronaut
Screaming Baby Sand
Sand Artist
Beach Dream
Fun In The Sand
Going-To-The-Beach-is-FUN
Haeundae-Beach
K-Drama F4
Korea Swimming
Big Balls
Little Stonkers

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June 6, 2012 at 8:10 am Comment (1)

Haedong Yonggungsa Temple

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Haedong Yonggungsa (해동용궁사) is unique among Busan’s Buddhist temples in that it lies not in the mountains, but on the seafront. It was founded in 1376, during the Goryeo Dynasty, and completely destroyed during the Japanese invasions. Though the current construction only dates from the 1970s, the temple is a beautiful and much-beloved center of worship. In fact, I can’t imagine it being any more popular.

Haedong Yonggungsa Temple

Of course, we were visiting on the day before Buddha’s birthday, when legions of the faithful had shown up. This was definitely the only time in my life I’ve waited in a 45-minute line to enter a temple or church. But it was a sunny morning, and the queue gave us time to take in the beauty of the temple from afar. Haedong Yonggungsa looks out over the sea, with tall dagobas erected on the rock above, and has as its centerpiece a three-story pagoda protected by four lions. Inside the pagoda are bone relics brought to Korea by a Sri Lankan monk… a neat connection to our previous home.

According to the temple’s website, its motto is “At least one of your wishes will be answered here through your heartful prayers.” That’s hopeful, and at least more optimistic than the Christian slogans I grew up with like, “Repent, ye sinner”. The Buddhist Goddess of Mercy, thought to reside in the sea, is the main deity at Haedong Yonggungsa. Apparently, she’s appeared to people here, and saying her name over and over will result in good fortune.

It was a little hard to appreciate all the details of the temple, due to the celebrations underway. Lanterns were strung up everywhere, hiding from view anything higher than a couple meters, including a statue of the mercy goddess. And man, do Koreans love taking photographs. You couldn’t move an inch without accidentally intruding in someone else’s frame. It was a little amusing to hear Jürgen — who never stops taking pictures — complain about other people doing the same.

Location on our Busan Map
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Fear Korea
Korean Monkey
Year-of-the-in-Korea
Elephant Boy Korea
Dragon Street Light
Buddha Tower
Lantern Base
Busan Temple Work
Gate Temple
Visit Busan
Busan 2012
Korea Dagobas
Picture Manicas
Photo Shooting in Korea
Korean Couple
Trapped Dragon
Lantern Festival in Busan
Luck Turtle
Holy Turtle
Lantern Reflection
Lucky Pigs
Blue Shirt Lantern
Buddhist Monk Hangout
Hidden Buddha
FAT BUDDHA
Golden Buddha
Wrapped Buddha
Super Cute Buddha
Buddha Tower
Buddha Babies
Buddha Baby Tree
Buddha Garden
Rich Buddha
Stone Lantern Korea
Buddha Well
Korea
Korean Festival
Korean Contrast
Busan Festivals
Temple Roof
Lotus Lantern
FFFUUUUUUUUUUU
Busan Blog
Flights To Korea Deal
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May 28, 2012 at 5:47 am Comment (1)

The Lotus Lantern Parade

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Though Christianity has recently become the dominant religion in South Korea, the country had been a primarily Buddhist land for nearly all of its history. Buddha’s Birthday, which fell on May 28th in 2012, is a major celebration across the peninsula. And the week-long Lotus Lantern Festival which precedes it is an engaging reaffirmation of the country’s traditional faith.

Neon Dragon

The festival kicked off with a host of events in Yongdusan Park, in Nampo-Dong. A collection of floats were on display — automated dragons, Buddhas, fire-breathing peacocks — and the park was packed with both monks and people out looking for a bit of fun. This wasn’t the most somber or conservative of religious festivals; one of the events was a B-Boy break-dancing competition.

A group of tents in the park constituted the Arts & Crafts center and, walking past, we were immediately targeted for participation by an overly-enthusiastic volunteer. She sat us down next to kids, where we created toy lanterns. Then she grabbed our arms and led us the “ink stamping” section, where we pounded out Buddhist designs. Then she pushed us over to the “wishing ribbon” section, where we wrote down our names and our dreams for the future. “My name is Mike, and I wish for a world free from the scourge of Arts & Crafts!”

The festival-closing parade on Sunday night was a colorful event. We were surprised how few onlookers were lined up on Daechung Road to watch it pass, but then… most of the city was in the parade. Group after massive group of waving, lantern-carriers passed by, along with neon-colored float and the occasional marching band. We followed the final group up to Yongdusan Park, where there was a fireworks show followed by a concert of traditional drumming.

-The Temple of the Tooth

Lantern Festival
Korea Nature Dance
Dragon Lantern
Bunny Lantern
Tree Lantern
Lotus Making
Buddha Stamp
LOL Dragon
Korean ButterFly
Busan Blog
Lotus Lantern Busan
Drummer Lotus
Lantern Fest
Buddhist Monk Busan
Angry White Tiger
Dragon Parade Busan
Lotus Army
Steaming Buddha
Lantern Street
Busan Guide
Lonely Dragon
Fire Peacock
Busan Dragon
Busan Laser
Extasy Busan
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May 26, 2012 at 3:05 am Comments (0)