The festival has a long tradition of more than 1,200 years and is designated as Korea’s National Intangible Cultural Property No. 122 by Korean government. It boasts the largest number of visitors among all Korean festivals, and also attracts the largest number of foreign visitors. In 2017, there were more than 300,000 native Korean and 30,000 foreign visitors at the festival. Over 50,000 people actively participated in crafting lanterns, the lantern parade zones or Madang* experience of the traditional cultural event, as volunteers. This high number of volunteers is one of the unique elements of the Lotus Lantern Festival.
In tribute to a millennial tradition, you are cordially invited to Korea’s annual Lotus Lantern Festival which will definitely lighten your heart and brighten your world. Organized to celebrate the Buddhas’s coming into this world, the month-long Lotus lantern Festival will pack its most highlighted events into three days on May 11~13, 2018 there are hands-on experiential programs and performances to sing and dance along with, as well as parades and exhibitions to see. Please remind the dates of the festival changes every year as it will be held during the weekend right before the Buddha’s Birthday which falls on 8th April by Lunar Calendar(22 May 2018).
Most programs are family-oriented, so bring your families and loved ones and immerse yourself in the festival’s spiritual ambiance and energetic togetherness which you won’t be able to experience anywhere else. On the night of May 12, 2018. more than one hundred thousand luminous lanterns will light up the Seoul night. The majestic parade of lanterns in unimaginable shapes and colors will bring the hearts of both participants and spectators together as on.
[Exhibition of Traditional Lanterns]: May 11 (Fri) – May 22 (Tues)
Jogyesa Temple, Bongeunsa Temple, Cheonggyecheon Stream
Come and absorb the spirit of the lanterns!
With soft and lovely light, the lanterns convey the aspirations and careful attention to detail of their creators. You can browse through traditional hanji paper lanterns in different colors and shapes.
[Eoullim Madang (Buddhist Cheer Rally)]: May 12 (Sat), 16:30-18:00
Dongguk University Stadium
A round of cheerful togetherness to excite you!
Before marching onto the streets to begin the lantern parade, participants can heighten their joy watching the spectacular dance movements and upbeat songs held on stage by various performance groups. The performance is followed by the ceremony of bathing the baby Buddha and a Dharma service.
[Lantern Parade]: May 12 (Sat), 17:00- 21:30
Street in front of Jongno (Dongdaemun Gate → Jogyesa Temple)
All participants become stars of the luminous lantern parade!
Thousands of lanterns will create magnificent waves of light that flow through the heart of metropolitan Seoul like an earthbound Milky Way. Anyone can participate and become a star of the festival.
[Hoehyang Hanmadang (Post-Parade Celebration)]: May 12 (Sat), 21:30-23:00
The rain of flower petals expresses the aspiration for happiness for all!
The cultural performances unfolding under a rain of flowers and the lively group dance of Ganggang Sullae bring all participants together as one, transcending nationality, gender, ethnicity and religion.
[Traditional Cultural Events]: May 13 (Sun), Noon-19:00
Street in front of Jogyesa Temple
A variety of hands-on experiences to satisfy your senses!
The street festival pulsates with the unique aesthetics of Korea.
You can enjoy various cultural experiences including lantern making and temple food tasting.
[Cultural Performances]: May 13 (Sun), Noon-18:00
Performance stage in front of Jogyesa Temple
See lively performances filled with deep emotion and joy.
Enjoy traditional folk performances including songs, dances and rope walking, along with Buddhist performances and various traditional performances from other Asian countries.
[Yeondeungnori (Final Celebration)]: May 13 (Sun), 19:00~21:00
Street in front of Insa-dong and Jogyesa Temple
Beautiful performances and a mini-parade of splendid lanterns.
Following the performance groups, another lantern parade will be held to express the aspiration for peace and happiness all over the world.