In many East Asian countries, Buddha’s birthday will be celebrated on 30 April. The day commemorates the birth of the Prince Siddhartha Gautama, later the Gautuma Buddha, and the founder of Buddhism. The day is an official holiday in Hong Kong, Macau and South Korea.
In South Korea, the birthday of Buddha is celebrated according to the Korean lunar calendar. This day is called 석가탄신일 (Seokga tansinil), meaning “Buddha’s birthday” or 부처님 오신 날 (Bucheonim osin nal) meaning “the day when the Buddha came”.
Lotus lanterns hang in temples throughout the month and lanterns are hung in homes and in the streets.
On the day of Buddha’s birth, many temples provide free meals and tea to all visitors. The breakfast and lunch provided are often sanchae bibimbap – a Korean rice dish made with seasoned wild leafy greens and root vegetables gathered in the mountains. The vegetables are seasoned, put on top of the rice, and then everything is mixed together with a spicy red pepper sauce.