This day is the birthday of Seokgamoni, and is also called “Buddha’s Birthday” or “the day Buddha came.” Although Buddha’s birthday is originally an event for Buddhists, its ceremonies have become embedded in mainstream Korean customs.
The most typical custom of this day is the merrymaking at the lantern festival. Many people also call this day the Lantern Festival Day. Before the arrival of Choopa-il (the 8th day of the 4th lunar month) households and temples prepare various lanterns. In the case of households, lanterns are made according to the number of people in the family. During the evening of Choopa-il, these lanterns are lit. In addition people attach fireworks on the strings of these lanterns to add extra fun. Fireworks are also attached onto scarecrows on strings, so that they shake from the wind.
Jjintteok are bubble-shaped rice cakes that are steamed in alcohol after being kneaded with glutinous rice powder. Honey or sugar is mixed with red bean paste and put in to the bubble. A jujube is added for extra taste and decoration.
Hwajeon are round rice cakes that are kneaded with glutinous rice powder and fried with azalea flowers attached on top.
Eochae is a dish that is mixed with fish, leaf from a Rose of Sharon, green onions, manna lichen, abalone, and eggs all sliced lightly. This dish is often eaten with thick red pepper soy paste or sesame oil.
Eomandu is a dish where fish are emptied and then refilled with meat then boiled.
Japanese parsley is cooked and with pepper, garlic, and onion then mixed into raw fish. Once this is dipped in red paste, minariganghoe is ready.