Seoul Lantern Festival

The Seoul Lantern Festival is a festival held every November in Seoul in South Korea when hundreds of lanterns decorate the public recreation space of Cheonggyecheon.

Seoul Lantern Festival
Revised RomanizationSeoul bitchorong chukje
McCune–ReischauerSŏul pitch'olong ch'ukche
Seoul Lantern Festival 2011
Seoul Lantern Festival 2015


The Seoul Lantern Festival started in 2009.[1] The two-week festival starts on the Friday of the first week in November and covers downtown Seoul in sparkling lights, illuminating the city at night during the early winter. Visitors can encounter various types of lanterns from Cheonggye Plaza to Supyo Bridge (1.2 kilometers).[2]


Seoul Lantern Festival offers different concepts of festival every year.


Seoul Lantern Festival – Lotus lantern – 2009

The first Seoul Lantern Festival celebrated the 'Visit Korea Year 2010 to 2012' for 5 days. The festival had four themes that were related to 'ryu' Korean.

  • Theme 1: Gyoryu zone (Exchange zone)
  • Theme 2: Wonryu zone (Headwaters zone)
  • Theme 3: Hanryu zone (Korean wave zone)
  • Theme 4: Ilryu zone (First-class zone)[3]


The second Seoul Lantern Festival drew 2.3 million visitors, including about 370,000 foreign tourists.[4] The festival's paper lanterns were from 24 countries including Korea, Japan, China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand and Malaysia. The festival was originally planned for 10 days, but public pressure, largely from the foreign tourists, convinced the organisers to extend the festival by seven additional days.[5]

  • Theme : Seoul, the forest of the glimmer of hope.[6]


Seoul Lantern Festival in 2011

The main theme of the 2011 festival was 'The History of Seoul by Lanterns' (alternately, '…Told with Light'; literally 'An Old Story of Seoul with Lantern').[7] Lantern art was used to tell the history of Korea from the Joseon Dynasty through modern times, with special attention to the stories told for Children.[8]

  • Theme 1: History of Korea
  • Theme 2: Memory of the childhood
  • Theme 3: Characters for children[7]


Seoul Lantern Festival in 2012

'The Roots of Seoul, the Life of Ancestors'.[9] was the theme for 2012, once again running a total of 17 days[10] with lanterns illuminated from 5:00 PM to 11:00 PM.[11] Highlighting the design, colour and exotic atmosphere created by lanterns, the overall display extended to over 1.5 kilometres (0.93 mi)[12] and included over 35,000 lights from around Korea (including Suncheon, Namwon, Uiryeong, Inje, Yeongju and Yeongwol, among others[13]) as well as Japan, the Philippines and Singapore.[14]

  • Theme 1: Fortress Wall of Seoul
  • Theme 2: The story of ancestors who lead Joseon about 200 years
  • Theme 3: Life of the people of Joseon
  • Theme 4: Opened Seoul[15]


Prayer wheels at the festival in 2013

This fifth Seoul Lantern Festival opened on 1 November to 11 November[16] with a main theme of 'Millennial dream of Hanseong Baekje'.[17] During this festival, visitors could make hanji lanterns, watch musical performances and enjoy other entertainments [18] and events along Cheonggye Plaza and other Seoul sites.[19] A modern lantern in the form of a falcon symbolized the lionhearted Baekje,[19] one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea, and an opening musical performance and parade was based on the life of Geunchogo of Baekje who oversaw the apex of that kingdom.[20]

  • Theme 1: 500 years of Hanseong Baekje
  • Theme 2: Woongjin(Gongju) Baekje Period
  • Theme 3: Buyeo Baekje Period
  • Theme 4: The harmony, spirit of Baekje[21]


Seoul Lantern Festival 2014

The Seoul Lantern Festival changed its Korean name in 2014 to the Seoul Bitchorong Festival, but there was no change to the name in English. According to the organizing committee, it has changed the Korean name because the festival has expanded to be a combination of traditional lanterns and modern lights like LEDs.[22] It has opened from Cheonggye Plaza to Supyogyo(Bridge) about 1.2 km and displayed about 30,000 light bulbs and about 300 lanterns of 58 lantern light arts. Moreover, the wish tree that is displayed at Kwangtong Bridge was 8 m high and it contained the wishes of Seoul citizens and foreign visitors.[23] As a result, about 3.14 million visitors enjoyed the Seoul Lantern Festival 2014.[24] The total visitors rate has increased 25% from the year before.[24] The largest number of visitors enjoyed the Seoul Lantern Festival 2014.[25]

Total foreign visitors are about 630,000 and this rate has increased 16% from the year before.

  • Theme 1: Wonderful world heritage of Seoul
  • Theme 2: Invitation from local government and foreign country
  • Theme 3: Famous characters
  • Theme 4: Light Arts[26]


Dragons in the festival in 2015
  • Theme 1: Amazing World heritage in Seoul
  • Theme 2: From local governments and overseas invitation
  • Theme 3: Corporation and the character
  • Theme 4: Light Art author show


By subwayEdit

  • Line 1 and 2 City Hall Station, exit 1
  • Line 5 Line 5 Gwanghwamun Station, exit 5
  • Line 1 Jonggak Station, exit 4 and 5
  • Line 2 Euljiro 1(il)-ga Station, exit 2 and 3
  • Line 2 Euljiro 3(sam)-ga Station, exit 1, 2, 4, and 5


The Seoul Lantern Festival was organized just in time to celebrate the 'Visit Korea Year 2010 to 2012'.[27] It was decided to hold the Seoul Lantern Festival annually, and in response the city of Jinju criticized the festival severely. They said that the Seoul Lantern Festival was a copy of their Jinju Namgang Yudeng Festival,[28] which itself is annual and had begun earlier, in 2000.[29] It had been started in that year as a public requiem, and also as an occasion for a Korean prayer rite in honour of about 70,000 soldiers and civilians who had died in the historic second battle at Jinju Castle in 1593.[30] More than 20 Jinju associations asked for the Seoul Lantern Festival to be discontinued. There was a one-man protest in front of the Seoul city hall and an assembly at the Seoul station.[31] As a result, the city of Seoul and the city of Jinju agreed to change the Korean name of the Seoul Lantern Festival, and thus differentiated the Seoul Lantern Festival from the Jinju Namgang Yudeng Festival.[32]


  1. ^ "Seoul Lantern Festival has started". No Cut News.
  2. ^ "Seoul Lantern Festival 2015". The Official Seoul City Tourism.
  3. ^ "Visitors at Seoul Lantern Festival". Newsis. Retrieved 13 November 2009.
  4. ^ "Result for the Seoul Lantern Festival 2010". Etnews. Retrieved 23 November 2010.
  5. ^ "Seoul Lantern Festival will be until 21st November". Asiae. Retrieved 12 November 2010.
  6. ^ "Seoul Lantern Festival 2010 has opened". Newsis. Retrieved 4 November 2010.
  7. ^ a b "Seoul Lantern Festival with history and story". Newis. Retrieved 4 November 2011.
  8. ^ "Fall of Seoul, it lights with sparkling lights from the Seoul Lantern Festival". AjuNews. Retrieved 3 November 2011.
  9. ^ "Seoul Lantern Festival lights in an autumn night". Etoday. Retrieved 1 November 2012.
  10. ^ "Lantern lights in the night of Cheonggyecheon". Asiae. Retrieved 1 November 2012.
  11. ^ "Over 35,000 lanterns light the night of Seoul". Kyeongin News. Retrieved 2 November 2012.
  12. ^ "35,000 lights of Chyeonggyecheon". Yonhap News. Retrieved 1 November 2012.
  13. ^ "Seoul Lantern Festival 2012". Nocut News. Retrieved 7 November 2012.
  14. ^ "Enjoy the lantern light of the Cheonggyecheon". Newdaily. Retrieved 2 November 2012.
  15. ^ "Seoul Lantern Festival 2012 will open on 2nd of November". Green Post Korea. Retrieved 1 November 2012.
  16. ^ "A day before opening of Seoul Lantern Festival 2013". Segye News. Retrieved 31 October 2013.
  17. ^ "History of Baekje 700 years is at the Seoul Lantern Festival 2013". Maeil Business Newspaper. Retrieved 31 October 2013.
  18. ^ Cha, Yoonjoo (31 October 2013). "Seoul Lantern Festival 2013 will open tomorrow". New 1.
  19. ^ a b Jang, Sookyeong (31 October 2013). "History of Baekje came alive on Cheonggye Plaza". News cj. Retrieved 31 October 2013.
  20. ^ Cha, Yoonjoo (31 October 2013). "Seoul Lantern Festival 2013 will open tomorrow". New 1.
  21. ^ "Seoul Lantern Festival will open on 1st November". etoday. Retrieved 31 October 2013.
  22. ^ Seo, Minji (7 November 2014). "What is Seoul Lantern Festival?". The Fact.
  23. ^ Kim, Nana (7 November 2014). "Seoul Lantern Festival has opened". KBS.
  24. ^ a b Yang, Sengjin (26 November 2014). "More than 3 million visitors at Seoul Lantern Festival 2014". Asiatoday.
  25. ^ Yang, Sengjin (26 November 2014). "More than 310 million visitors at Seoul Lantern Festival 2014". Asiatoday.
  26. ^ Hwang, Soojung (7 November 2014). "4 themes in Seoul Lantern Festival 2014. Enjoy the festival!". Newspim.
  27. ^ Cho, Soojung (14 November 2009). "Crowded at the Seoul Lantern Festival". Newsis.
  28. ^ Lee, Donghoon (1 November 2013). "Seoul Lantern Festival has opened, the strong blacklash from city Jinju". MBN.
  29. ^ Lee, Woongho (25 September 2013). "Jinju Namgang Yudeng Festival and Seoul Lantern Festival". knnews.
  30. ^ "Jinju Namgang Yudeng Festival Webpage".
  31. ^ Song, Bongjoon (26 August 2013). "Seoul Lantern Festival will start as the planned, city Jinju criticized it". NocutNews.
  32. ^ Kim, Jonghyun (1 November 2013). "City Seoul and city Jinju resolved a conflict". idomin.

External linksEdit