In my first year in Seoul, me and my friend went to the Seoul Latnern Festival that happens in the month of November every year. Originally known as the Lotus Lantern Festival, the display is set up along the Cheonggyecheon Stream in the North of Seoul in Jongno. As you start at Dongdaemun at Cheonggyecheon Plaza, you walk along the stream and view the lantern displays along a 1,2 km walk. There are fun characters from traditional Korean folk tales and cultural figures all in colourful bright lantern forms.
A bit of pop culture
There are famous comic book characters and some cute kids’ characters such as Pororo the Penguin to Batman, Spiderman and even a Gundam figure.
A bit of traditional culture
I liked the figures from the traditional Korean folktales the most. They have the famous ddokbokki making rabbits who are said to live in the moon.
There were many characters from the Korean legends and stories of triumphant and tragic heroes, all enacted out in lantern form.
Lanterns of the world
There were also a variety of traditional lanterns from all over the world in all forms. There were also new fun designs added to traditional lantern making such as the robotic peacocks which moved and blew out fire!
The Chinese Zodiac
At the end of the walk you will come across the final display which shows the 12 animals from the Chinese zodiac. You will land up at Gwanghwamun Plaza where you can see one of the Korean guard gates lit up.
It’s a pretty cool event. You can also make your own lantern or light a traditional lantern to send up into the air or on the water to make a wish. The event occurs at night in November and it can be pretty chilly, so bring a jacket.
The festival is free! The lanterns are lit at about 5 pm every night and will go on until the end of November month.