Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Seoul Lantern Festival

Since I am now finished with my Europe blogs after 11 months, I will move on to other events of the last year, in random order.

Back in the dead of freezing cold winter, I went to the Lantern Festival at Cheongyecheon Stream, a man-made stream that runs through Northern Seoul. The stream itself is a little over 5 miles, though the festival covered less than a mile. It could be more than a mile, but that's an estimate based on the fact that I didn't die of frostbite while looking at the lanterns and managed to see all of them before trying to find a heater.

The lanterns were amazing and absolutely not what I was expecting when I heard "Lantern Festival."

I expected to see a line of small lanterns along the stream, similar to ones I've seen during holidays at the Buddhist temples.
Instead, the lanterns they had were enormous and extremely beautiful. They all represented various artifacts, events and traditions in Korean history and culture, which were interesting. The signs were either exclusively in Korean, or were hidden in shadow, so I can't tell you what a lot of them meant, but I can show you that they looked awesome.

To the left, is the Seoul Lantern Festival: The Almost beginning.

Seoul Lantern Festival 2013: The beginning.
These are people climbing up rocks wearing historical clothing.

This is a man riding a purple horse.

These are people bowing at each other, also in traditional clothing, possibly for scholars.

I think that's the king. Or he could not be the king.

This is a golden ship with a Chinese character written on it that I cannot read.

These are some colorful circles.

There is a man stoking a traditional fire.

There is a man reading a scroll about traditional things.

These people are playing a traditional Korean game (this is true--I am not making that up).

That is a phoenix. and a man. And another animal that I can't see because it's too bright. Perhaps it is a tiger.

There it is! It's a striped dragon.

There is a snake dragon.
 That is a Korean artifact.

This is another Korean artifact.
 They changed it's color a lot. I think it might have been a crown.

Here is a similar artifact, possibly another crown.

This is an earring.

Or a necklace.

Or a leafed object.

Or a lantern.

Who knows.

There is a monkey pondering life.

There are small people doing something.

Here is another dragon with a small person holding a beach ball.

Here are more small people carrying the queen.

Here is a traditional Christmas tree.

There are some flying fish.

And more flying fish.

And even more flying fish.

And a singular flying fish.

Lots of people playing instruments.
 A closer shot of people playing instruments.
 This is what the line of lanterns looked like.
 Here I am. You cannot see the lanterns very well.

Here is an angry woman holding a fan, a monster and another woman holding a drum. Or possibly an acorn.

Jeju Island?

Some demon dragons and a grandmother.

A man and some bells.

Another angle of a man and his bells.

More flying fish.

And even more flying fish.

Even more fish with a building in the background.

An important Korean man.

2 important Korean people.

This is a harp seal, promoting green cards. Green cards to what?

Oh, yes, green cards to the Asian Games in Incheon, which are happening this year (2014) in September.

The other side of the people carrying the queen.

More instrument playing people.

Some small people on stilts and others holding umbrellas.

They're so happy!

The other side of the dragon and beach ball.

A person happily donning a dragon costume.

More instruments and dancing.

A moustached man holding a gong.

This is actually a famous artifact that I've seen in a museum.

Some birds.

A strange cat-human next to a bird.

Other animals. Possibly former wildlife of Korea that are no longer here. The last tiger was killed by Japan during the occupation of Korea. Now, as far as I know, their wildlife consists of wild boar, and large centipedes and snakes in the mountains.

The pensive monkey.

And last but not least, a golden statue. Possibly a bodhisattva.

And that concludes the Lantern Festival. Next up, Chicago last summer. Or possibly BC. Or the Pet Market last month. We'll see. I am so incredibly behind on blogging, I may never catch up.

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