It’s that time of year again. The Seoul Lantern Festival is now upon us and actually already coming to an end. The festival opened on November 1st and will be coming to a close this weekend on November 17th. After last year’s fabulous display of light and color along the historic 청계천 (Cheonggyecheon Stream), I knew I had to revisit it again this year.
The theme this year is “Hanseong Baekje, the Dream of a Thousand Years.” It highlights Seoul’s 200 year-old history and many traditions. The lantern displays depict various iconic points in history, legendary animals, traditional artifacts and even mythological stories. Each display comes with a description in both English and Korean, so it’s a visually stimulating way to learn about Korean history. I particularly enjoyed the mythical animals and their color changing lantern displays. So pretty!
While last year’s festival seemed to have a wide variety of random lanterns including Batman and a Gundam, this year really seems to focus on Korean culture. Although I didn’t mind the shift in focus, I was disappointed to find that there were only half as many displays as they had last year. There wasn’t even a section to make you own lantern’s and release them on the stream. Although the lanterns were still beautiful, it seemed like more effort was into it last year.
On the plus side… this year my boyfriend and I went with his older brother. It was his first time seeing it and he really enjoyed himself. Learning from last year’s insanely overcrowded “lines,” we went on a weekday (Wednesday) around 6pm. It was awesome! There were no lines and plenty of time and space to take pictures. The weather wasn’t too bad either. I’ll admit it was a bit chilly, but nowhere near as cold as it was last year. Overall, it was another lovely experience at the Lantern Festival, so if you get the chance you definitely shouldn’t miss out. Until next time…