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Lotus Lantern Festival (Yeon Deung Hoe) 2024 in Seoul

Established over 1,300 years ago, this annual Buddhist lantern festival brightens the hearts and skies of both Korea and the world

Dates: May 10-12, 2024

Lotus Lantern Festival (Yeon Deung Hoe)
Lotus Lantern Festival (Yeon Deung Hoe)
Lotus Lantern Festival (Yeon Deung Hoe)
Lotus Lantern Festival (Yeon Deung Hoe)
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Every year, on the weekend before Buddha’s birthday, a phenomenal celebration takes place in South Korea—the Lotus Lantern Festival. All the celebrations last for about a week, but the pre-birthday weekend is the most exciting. Buddha's Birthday falls on the 8th day of the 4th month of the Lunar calendar. People from all over the world gather together in Seoul for this event and the normally bustling city streets watch the activities at a standstill.

At this time, the streets of Seoul come alive with bright lanterns, parades and various cultural activities. One of the highlights of the festival is the Lotus Lantern Parade. Participants carry colorful lanterns of various shapes and sizes, symbolizing enlightenment and the spread of light in the world.

Korean Lantern Festival Schedule

The bash starts on Saturday at 4:30 pm with the Buddhist Cheer Rally (EoulimMadang)—a dharma ceremony with the Gwanbul ritual sprinkling water on the Baby Buddha. A huge lantern parade follows at 7 pm on Jongno Street and normally lasts for two and a half hours. Imagine a hundred thousand participants, each with glowing lanterns, which represent a commitment to the Buddhist enlightenment teachings. A friendly tip: Tapgol Park has an excellent vantage point to watch the festivities.

After the parade, there is dancing followed by thousands of wish lanterns being released into the sky. The Post-Parade Celebration, Daedong Hanmadang, features flower petals showering down, which represents 'the light of wisdom.'

Locals and visitors can also attend the family-friendly street festival, which is full of Korean traditional cultural activities and performances: making lanterns, drawing traditional designs, and trying temple cuisine. Experience a classic display of entertaining Madangnori (traditional Korean outdoor performance), where the performers actively involve the audience. Events are held on Street in front of Jogye-sa Temple on May 12 from noon to 6 pm. The festival ends with the Final Celebration (Yeondeungnori), featuring the Insadong parade, which takes place on May 12 from 7 pm to 9 pm.

Ticket Prices

The festival, which will allow you to have a great time and immerse yourself in Korean culture, gaining new knowledge and experience, is free for visitors of all ages.

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Authors: Olena Basarab