Sunday, January 1, 2012

2011 November: South Korea: Lantern Festival

That late afternoon, it was starting to get dark.  I was walking from Myeongdong to Cheonggyecheon Stream.  Along the way, they started to open the lights, emphasizing the autumn leaves of the piles of the trees along the street.  So I started to shoot with my camera.  Upon reaching the stream proper, it started to rain, so it’s a choice between freely walking under the rain or holding the umbrella on my left hand and keeping my right hand steady.  Too bad I can’t use the tripod that rainy evening - so proud to say, all were taken by my steady hands under 10.5 degrees Celsius in Seoul.

Since its inception in 2009, the annual Seoul Lantern Festival has managed to put on remarkable displays of lanterns on the famous Cheonggyecheon Stream in downtown Seoul.

Under the theme of 'Old Story of Seoul,' the 2011 Seoul Lantern Festival will kick off with a lighting ceremony in Cheonggye Plaza. Then, during the festival period, hundreds of lanterns, each with a unique design and story, will be lit on Cheonggyecheon Stream. Visitors can expect to see lanterns made by international artists, as well as local citizens. [Reference]

The MonkeyThe ninth animal, possesses multiple gifts and is a symbol of long life.  While it is not native to Korea, it has long been used in artwork as a paragon of wisdom and wits. 

The Joseon Era
Yi Seong-gye, King Taejo of Joseon, selected Hanyang as his capital and erected the city's four main gates.
The country provided a solid foundation that allowed the people to look forward to the future and enabled culture and art to flourish.

Also known as Namsaemun, the south dgate of the Joseon capital in Hantang is National Treasure No. 1. It was the oldest wooden building in Seoul before its destruction in a 2008 fire.  A restoration effort is currently under way.

So glad that I have finally experienced a Lantern Festival.  I've been dreaming to attend one in Taiwan, but since I'm not able to...  Having one, in celebration of the closing of Autumn Season in Seoul is so wonderful!  See the number of expectators from the photo below, given that the stream covers several train stations from Gwanghwamun to Dongdaemun - a long way to walk.

As I go back to Myeongdong, I ended the night shooting the very lovely leaves in Lotte Mall.

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