(ATTN: UPDATES throughout with ceremonies, president's remarks; ADDS photos)
SEOUL, May 27 (Yonhap) -- Temples across South Korea held ceremonies celebrating Buddha's Birthday on Saturday without social distancing measures for the first time in four years.
The Jogye Order, the nation's largest Buddhist sect, began a large-scale ceremony at Jogye Temple in downtown Seoul hosted by Ven. Jinwoo at 10 a.m.
With COVID-19 restrictions lifted, the event brought together about 10,000 participants, including President Yoon Suk Yeol, political party leaders, the sect's senior officials, leaders of other religious groups, foreigners and people from various circles.
During the ceremony, Yoon said values the government strives for, such as respecting human rights, protecting the vulnerable, and world peace, are derived from Buddha's teachings.
"The government will take care of those in need more warmly, and will do its best so that hope can spread to every corner of the people's lives, and help others around the world to find peace," he said in a speech.
Other sects also hosted traditional Buddhist rituals at their major temples.
Last Saturday, about 50,000 people attended the annual lantern parade held at full-scale in central Seoul to celebrate Buddha's Birthday.
Also known as "Yeondeunghoe" in Korean, the annual festival was inscribed on UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity List in 2020.
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