2012 Seoul Lantern Festival

The 2012 Seoul Lantern Festival has the theme “Roots of Seoul, A Day in the Life of Our Ancestors.”  Over 30,000 lanterns of various sizes and shapes, depicting Joseon Dynasty lifestyles or representing company/organization logos, will be lining and lighting up the famous man-made stream between Cheonggye Plaza and Seungyo Bridge.  In addition, visitors will have a chance to participate in a diverse range of programs such as lantern making, lantern floating for good luck, lantern fortress building and wish hanji (traditional paper) hanging.  [from the Official Site for Korean Tourism]

The Hunminjeongeum, the book used by King Sojeon
to introduce the Korean alphabet, Hangeul

The Honcheoneui, a celestial globe used to measure the
locations fo the sun, moon, and five planets.
A picture of it appears on the 10000-won bill.

A court lady carrying a ritual lantern

Jongmyojeryeak (Jongmyo Royal Ancestral Confucian Memorial Ceremony Music).  This music was played during commemorative rites at Jongmyo, the shrine housing the ancestral tablets of the kings and queens of Joseon.

Namdaemun--officially known as the Sungnyemun (Gate of Exalted Ceremonies)--is one of the Eight Gates in the Fortress Wall of Seoul, which surrounded the city in the Joseon Dynasty.

Goblins have long been seen as something fearsome, yet simple-minded and familiar.  Their images are sometimes displayed at palaces and temples to ward off evil spirits.

Ssireum, one of Korea’s most popular folk games.  Two contestants
wear a belt, then lock onto each other’s belt.  The first one to
make a part of his opponent’s body above the knee touch the ground wins.
A National Exam champion returning.  The gwageo (or kwago) were the national civil service examinations under the Goryeo and Joseon dynasties of Korea.  Typically quite demanding, these tests measured candidates' knowledge of the Chinese classics, and sometimes also of technical subjects.  These were the primary route for most people to achieve positions in the aristocracy.
A similar exam still occurs every year, the state-administered college entrance exam (CSAT).  The CSAT determines which school you get into, and since entry into a top university is still the key to economic success and social status in Korea, it is regarded as the most important day in a student’s life.

A traditional Korean wedding
A traditional folk game for women, Nolttwigi is like a western seesaw.  A long piece of board is placed with its center supported by rigid piles of straw.  It requires two people taking turns to jump on their end of the board to send their partner into the air.  It is especially enjoyed on traditional holidays such as Lunar New Year, Chusok, and Tano.

Having lunch

One of the activities at the festival is building and launching your own lantern.
A fruit lantern displayed during Singapore’s Mid-Autumn Festival.  Each fruit has a meaning; the pineapple is regarded as the fruit that brings wealth and luck to the people.  (I’m sure the Hawaiians would agree!)
The Akita Yuzawa Edoro Festival is held every August in Yuzawa City, Japan.  Held for over 400 years, it is extremely famous for the portraits of a local beauty.

The Korean version of “It’s a Small World,”
but without the annoying music!

Of course, being the hosts, the Koreans get two figures!

Here’s your eye test: can you see the fish?

Bakdal, the Taoist hermit of health who presents healthy apples
to the heavenly gods, and Geumbong, the Taoist fairy of love.
(Quit laughing!  I’m not making this up!)

Check out this robe!

I have no idea what this is supposed to be,
nor do I have any comment...
The fortress wall of Seoul, including Hanyangdoseong Fortress, Naesasan Mountain, four gates, Sasomun Gate, and Odaegung Palace.

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Last updated 8 December 2012