Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Seoul Lantern Festival 2012

 A very popular fruit lantern from Singapore

Back in 2009 I made a very cold visit to Seoul's first Lantern Festival along the Cheonggyechon. It was memorable partially because of the spectacular lanterns on display, but mostly because I remember being bundled in a hat, scarf, mittens, winter jacket and still feeling like parts of my body were going to become frostbitten.

This year, since my office is right around the corner in Jongno, I decided I had no excuse to miss this year's festival. Friday night after work the boyfriend and I took a little stroll down to check out this year's display.

Scenes from traditional Korean culture

The most notable difference between this year and 2009 was the amount of people. We actually had to form a line to get down to the Cheonggyechon and it was rather hard to stop and take photos because there were so many people. It could be the warmer weather, I was fine with just my fall jacket and a scarf, or it could just be that the event has grown that much in popularity since it's first year. Whatever the case we only walked one portion of the stream to escape from the hoards of people... but if you don't mind the crowds or if you've never seen a lantern festival before, it's certainly worth going.

 Girls playing on a traditional Korean see-saw, 놀 뛰기

This year's theme, or at least the theme for the portion of the stream that I was on was traditional Korean culture. Here you can see scenes from the past lit up along the stream in lantern form. 

Flying traditional Korea kites (연)

Another fun event at this year's lantern festival was writing a message on a lantern, lighting it and letting it float down the stream. It kind of felt like a scene out of a movie or something.

 Launching lanterns into the stream

 Of course, all those lanterns had to go somewhere...

 This year's lantern festival runs from 11/2-11/17 along Cheonggyechon stream for 1.5 km from Cheonggye Plaza (between City Hall Station and Gwanghwamun Station) and Seungyo Bridge. For more event information, visit: http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/FU/FU_EN_15.jsp?cid=1743656

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