Sunday, May 23, 2010

Buddha's Birthday

This Friday was Buddha's Birthday, which as a student pointed out to me is just like Christmas.

I began the day with a traditional rice wine making class (more about that when our beverage has matured) and then made my way to the city center where there were various goings-on.

First, I hit the Cheonggyechun, where the lantern festival was focused mainly on the themes from the life of the Buddha:

Later on, I walked over to Seoul Plaza in front of City Hall where there were free performances beginning at 7:30. First up was a musical group called 가야금 연주단 '여울' Gayageum Quartet 'Yeoul'. The gaygeum is a traditional 12-string instrument like a zither. Yeoul plays modern music on this ancient instrument, for a unique sound. Their set included "Fly Me to the Moon" and "Stairway to Heaven".

The next performance was a presentation of Nolboo and Heungboo by a theatre troupe called 마당노리 Madangnori. Before they got down to the story, there was a big musical spectacle with acrobatics, plate-spinning and the like:

Free performances continue through next Sunday, May 30.

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