Winter Seoul Lantern Festival 2023 offers you a luminous journey through the heart of Seoul. This annual spectacle, renowned for its ever-evolving themes and cultural significance, invites you to a world where traditional Korean heritage blends seamlessly with modern artistic expression. This year, expect an even grander experience with expanded venues, including Gwanghwamun Square and Cheonggye Square, and Seoul Square. Set to light up Seoul’s winter nights from December 2023 to January 2024!
Seoul Lantern Festival Historical Story
The festival has offered different concepts each year. For example, the 2009 festival celebrated the ‘Visit Korea Year 2010 to 2012’ with themes related to Korean ‘ryu’ and the 2010 festival had the theme “Seoul, the forest of the glimmer of hope”.
In 2011, the festival used lantern art to tell the history of Korea, from the Joseon Dynasty through modern times, with a focus on stories for children. However, over the years, the festival expanded in size and scope. The 2012 festival, themed “The Roots of Seoul, the Life of Ancestors,” spanned over 1.5 kilometers and included over 35,000 lights.
Themes have often reflected cultural and historical aspects of Korea, such as the 2013 festival’s theme, “Millennial dream of Hanseong Baekje,” highlighting Korean history and heritage.
In 2014, the festival’s Korean name was changed to reflect its combination of traditional lanterns and modern lights like LEDs. That year, it attracted about 3.14 million visitors. Meanwhile, last year’s Winter Seoul Lantern Festival took the themes that have included “Sea of Courage” and “The Light of Companionship,” showcasing a blend of traditional and contemporary cultural elements
Winter Seoul Lantern Festival 2023
For its 2023 edition, the Seoul Lantern Festival is set to broaden its scope, featuring expanded venues that include Gwanghwamun Square, Cheonggye Square, and Seoul Square. Additionally, the Gwanghwamun Square Market, which began as a pilot project last year, will again accompany the festival. This market enhances the festive experience by offering a variety of attractions, alongside opportunities to savor delicious food and engage in enjoyable activities.
Event date and Venue
- Event Dates: December 15, 2023, to January 21, 2024.
- Time: 18:00 – 22:00.
- Location Highlights: The festival illuminates the winter nights with light sculptures and experiential programs.
- Gwanghwamun Square Market: Launched last year, this market offers various attractions, food, and activities.
- Hanji Lanterns: Streets along Cheonggyecheon Stream light up with lanterns made from traditional Korean paper, Hanji.
- Walking Route: Visitors can walk from Cheonggyecheong Square to Supogyo Bridge, covering approximately 1.2Km.
- Christmas Market: About 160 vendors sell Christmas decorations, food, and more, perfect for finding festive items.
The festival, free for all, has become an international attraction, significantly contributing to the cultural and tourism landscape of Seoul. It’s not just a visual feast but also an opportunity to engage with Korean culture and traditions. For more updates, visit the Seoul Tourism Organization’s official website.
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