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서울 등 축제 Seoul Lantern Festival

What is the Seoul Lantern Festival?

The 서울 등 축제 Seoul Lantern Festival is an annual festival held every November in Seoul, South Korea. Hundreds of lanterns are used to decorate the public recreation space of Cheonggyecheon.

The Seoul Lantern Festival was introduced in 2009. The festival commences on the Friday of the first week in November to the third Sunday of November.

Every year nearly 3 million visitors experience various types of lanterns from the Cheonggye Plaza to Supyo Bridge which is about 1.3 kilometers. Seoul Lantern Festival offers different concepts of the festival every year.

Admission to the festival is free and the duration of the lantern show lasts about an hour.

Why do Koreans celebrate the Seoul Lantern Festival?

This festival was created for two reasons. The first reason is to welcome the winter season. The second reason is to celebrate and honor Seoul’s history. There are lanterns such as the UNESCO Culture Heritage icons, Korean cultural symbols, and both domestic and international lantern artisanry.

Where is the Seoul Lantern Festival located?

The Seoul Lantern Festival is always held at Cheonggyecheon Stream because this location is one of Korea’s most successful and sustainable projects.

Cheonggyecheon Stream was previously an elevated highway that interrupted the flow and original beauty of Seoul.

The highway was eventually removed and replaced by this 6-kilometer stream to offer locals a break from the urban life.

This stream is one of the most thriving projects in Seoul, which is why the Seoul Lantern Festival is held here every year.

서울 등 축제 Seoul Lantern Festival 7

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How is the Seoul Lantern Festival like?

The lanterns are up all day long, however, the best time to visit is in the evenings when the lanterns are beautifully illuminated.

Light shows are projected onto the buildings and bridges that encircle the Cheonggyecheon, while traditional music plays out from loudspeakers. 

You can even buy paper lanterns of various sizes which you can paint and decorate them as you like before setting them off to float down the stream or even release them into the sky. You can also buy decorative lanterns to take back home.


The banks of the stream and the surrounding streets are crammed with street food vendors who serve up all the classic Korean food.

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2019 Seoul Lantern Festival

The 2019 Seoul Lantern Festival started on 1st November 2019 and will end on the 17th of November 2019. The festival will last for about 17 days. The theme for this year is “Your Seoul, Dreams with Lights.” 

The festival is hosted by the Seoul Tourism Foundation and funded by the Seoul Metropolitan Government.

For the last decade, The Seoul Lantern Festival has featured the rich history and culture of Seoul. For 2019, the festival will feature characters from traditional folk tales. 

Marking its 11th anniversary, the festival will showcase amazing fairytales written in lanterns and lights under the night sky.

What do you think of the Seoul Lantern Festival? Have you been to one? Feel free to share your experience and photos in the comment section below!

Also, read on 4 Things Koreans Do to Celebrate Chuseok a.k.a the Mid-Autumn Festival!

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