Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Seoul Lantern Festival

It was chance that allowed us to visit the Seoul Lantern Festival (서울등축제) after the Embassy-sponsored Thanksgiving Dinner. I had had no idea that it was ongoing, but when I suggested a walk along the Cheonggyecheon (청계천), a 5-mile long artificial stream that winds through the heart of the city, I was surprised to hear that not only was it a short walk away from the museum, it would also be lit with lanterns and lantern sculptures. That basically made it a done deal, and about a dozen Fulbrighters braved the cold to visit the festival. I have tons of photos: enjoy!
Hundreds of tourists were walking along the banks of the creek to see the lanterns. My friends and I stayed at street level.
An amazing and beautiful tunnel of blue light.
The Cheonggyecheon is really long, but the lanterns didn't extend along its full length. I'd say we spent about an hour walking leisurely and seeing the beautiful artwork.
This display had some traditional music playing to match all of the lantern instruments you see.
This display was one of my favorites; the lantern kites were held up by wires, but they were actually moving in the breeze.
Katelyn and me in the gorgeous blue tunnel (taken by Tracey).
The whole group from left to right: Jonathan, Ammy, Ashley, Kathy, Katelyn, Kristen, Tracey, Julia, Maggie, Kate, Kaley, and Christina. They're in front of a huge lantern gate, literally a wall of light towering above them.
The Seoul Lantern Festival is not as large or famous as the Jinju Lantern Festival, but I missed the latter (because I went to the Busan International Film Festival instead). Thus I'm glad I got to see firsthand what the lantern craze in Korea is all about.

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