SEOUL – South Korea burst into a riot of colors on Tuesday as white and pink lotus flowers bloomed across the country, attracting local and foreign tourists to parks, festivals and ponds to admire the fresh flowers, an important symbol of Korean culture.
Throughout the day, crowds of visitors admired the bright flowers that grow in water, at the Kwangok-pond in Siheung of Gyeonggi-do, southwest of Seoul, an efe-epa journalist reports.
A yearly attraction in South Korea and a major tourist draw, the lotus flowers start blooming in late Spring in ponds and other water bodies, but are at their fullest between late June and September.
Siheung, a coastal city near the Yellow Sea, is a popular destination for visitors where more than 100 varieties of lotus are grown for research purposes.
The flowers can also be enjoyed at the many lotus festivals that are held in South Korea during the summer months, and where visitors can also sample products made from the flowers, including tea and snacks.
The lotus is an important symbol in Korean culture, which has a Buddhist heritage, and references to the flower in popular culture, art and literature are widespread.
In Buddhism, the lotus stands for purity of the human soul.
In Mahayana, Buddhist texts such as the Lotus Sutra, the flower is described as a symbol of the bodhisattva, or a person who dedicates his life to bring salvation to others.