안녕하세요: Seoul Lantern Festival 2015

23:47:00

I am back to blog about my Korea adventures! I have been more hardworking for the past few days than I was while I was studying, doing research and planning my itinerary for the next day, and I can't wait to share what I have accomplished and the places I have discovered while exploring Seoul on my own. I have walked so much and carried my backpack for so long that my legs, arms and shoulders are all aching now. Well, those have to wait just a tiny bit longer...

As mentioned in the previous post, Seoul Lantern Festival 서울빛초롱축제 is an annual festival held every November in Seoul when hundreds of remarkable and unique lanterns were lit and displayed on Cheonggyecheon Stream 청계천, starting from Cheonggye Plaza 청계광장. Just to share a bit on the history of Cheonggyecheon, the people of Korea started migrating into Seoul to make their living and settled along the stream in shabby makeshift houses soon after the Korean War (1950-1953). As it gradually became an eyesore in the city, a decision was made to cover the stream up with concrete and transform the space into an elevated highway, a symbol of the successful modernisation of South Korea.

About 20 years later, another major project to remove the highway in order to restore the stream was initiated. Many problems, including huge costs and the need to pump in water from the Han River were faced, but the restoration continued as the government felt it was necessary to re-introduce nature to the city and to promote a more eco-friendly urban design. The end-product, not forgetting the historical and cultural value Cheonggyecheon carries, definitely made all the efforts and money spent worthwhile.


Alright, time to explore the Cheonggyecheon bathed in lights ^.^


Throw your coin in, and your wish may come true!



I really like the lanterns with traditional and historical element to them There were description boards beside each lanterns, a great way to bring their history and culture across to the audience, regardless of whether they are locals or tourists. There was a lantern on Bukchon Hanok Village and Gwangjang Market too, though I did not managed to get a picture as it was extremely crowded and officers kept ushering everyone to move without stopping.


Taking a break from the crowd and all the walking



This extensive display of the lanterns we are more familiar with, is probably my favourite part of the entire festival. It was just so beautiful and interesting to see what others wrote. On the other hand, pre-application is required for your wishes to be hung up on the ceiling and it is only limited to a thousand applicants so if you want to participant, you will need to get the floating hope lanterns priced at ₩3,000, which you can write your wishes on the lantern, light it and release it on Cheonggyecheon instead. Quite cool nonetheless!


Took this for a friend who loves Pucca (and Garu)


How can anyone forget Pororo and his friends

Some of the lanterns were really remarkable but there were also a few which I didn't particularly prefer, mainly those that I thought lacked a meaning and also were more of a LED display than lanterns. I know all of them are LED.. still they should at least look like lanterns when they are in a Lantern Festival. I don't think I have completed all 600 lanterns that lighted up the 1.2 km journey along Cheonggyecheon, but I kept going on just so I could see Pororo (lols!) so I certainly saw a fair share and covered a long way. In hindsight, surely I enjoyed my time here, but I would have preferred it more if there was better crowd management. I would love to stop and appreciate the works than to keep moving forward.

What do you think of the festival?
Yvette

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