Travel Highlights

Traditional Charm & Excitement Meet at the Lotus Lantern Festival

  • Tag Event History Tour
  • Date04/27/2018
  • Hit61554

Lotus lantern parade (Credit: Yeon Deung Hoe)

The Yeon Deung Hoe (Lotus Lantern Festival) is an annual event that colors Korea with bright lanterns in celebration of the birth of Buddha. Started as a religious festival during the Silla Dynasty (57 BC – AD 935), this traditional festival has come to be enjoyed by thousands of people every year, regardless of background, nationality, or religion.

In hopes of making the world a better place, this year’s slogan and theme is “Wisdom and Compassion Make the World Beautiful.” Various programs and events are scheduled, including the popular lantern parade and lantern making as well as traditional experience activities, exciting performances, and a lantern exhibition.

A Peek into Lotus Lantern Festival

International visitors coming to Korea in May should definitely not miss this wonderful opportunity! The Lotus Lantern Festival is a huge event that only takes place once a year. Read on to find out more about the diverse hands-on activities and things to see at the festival!

1. Lotus Lantern Parade

Lotus Lantern Parade (Credit: Yeon Deung Hoe)

The highlight of the lotus lantern festival is the lantern parade! Passing Heunginjimun Gate on its way along Jongno Avenue all the way to Jogyesa Temple, this large-scale parade is a true sight to behold. In accordance to this year’s theme, the festival will feature a special lantern named juakbicheondeung, meaning “the heavenly maidens sing for peace of the Korean peninsula.”

The parade is preceded by a fabulous dance and song performance followed by the bathing Buddha and Dharma rituals. After the rituals, the festival reaches its peak with a flood of ornate lanterns parading the streets of Jongno.

  • ☞ Period: 19:00-21:00 May 12, 2018
  • ☞ Venue: Areas of Jongno Avenue (Heunginjimun GateJogyesa Temple)
  • ☞ Directions (parade start point): Dongdaemun Station (Seoul Subway Line 1, 4), Exit 6 or 9. Walk approx. 1-2 min.
  • ☞ Parade reserved seating & participation registration guide
    - Download and fill out the registration form from Yeon Deung Hoe website and submit it to idia@buddhism.or.kr via e-mail or +82-2-722-2203 via fax by April 27, 2018.
  • ☞ Inquiries (seating & parade participation): International Dharma Instructors’ Association +82-2-722-2206 (Korean, English), +82-10-3256-4128 (English), idia@buddhism.or.kr

2. Exhibition of Traditional Lanterns

Exhibition of traditional lanterns along Cheonggyecheon Stream (Credit: Yeon Deung Hoe)

In remembrance of the birth of Buddha, exhibitions of traditional lanterns will be on display for a twelve-day period in various parts of Seoul including Ujeong Park by Jogyesa Temple, Bongeunsa Temple and Cheongyecheon Stream. These exhibitions provide a wonderful opportunity to marvel at the unassuming charm of Korea’s traditional paper, hanji. In particular, Cheonggyecheon Stream’s exhibition will display quality lanterns with a theme of “Eternal Innocence – Seeing the World of Dharma through Lights.”

  • ☞ Period: May 11-22, 2018
  • ☞ Venue: Areas of Cheongyecheon Stream, Jogyesa Temple & Bongeunsa Temple
  • ☞ Directions
    - Cheonggyecheon Stream (Cheonggye Plaza): Gwanghwamun Station (Seoul Subway Line 5), Exit 5. Walk approx. 3 min.
    - Jogyesa Temple: Anguk Station (Seoul Subway Line 3), Exit 6. Walk approx. 6 min. / Jonggak Station (Seoul Subway Line 1), Exit 2. Walk approx. 6 min.
    - Bongeunsa Temple: Bongeunsa Station (Seoul Subway Line 9), Exit 1. Walk approx. 2 min. / Samseong Station (Seoul Subway Line 2), Exit 6. Walk approx. 12 min.

3. Traditional Cultural Events

Lanterns at Jogyesa Temple

The Traditional Culture Zone will be prepared in front of Jogyesa Temple, featuring approximately 130 booths run by Buddhist organizations and temples from across the nation. These booths provide a chance for visitors to learn about and better understand Buddhist culture. International visitors in particular will enjoy the chance to try temple foods and traditional activities.

One of the most popular activities is the lotus lantern contest (pre-reservation available) as participants can create their own personal lanterns. There are also many other hands-on activities and things to see in the culture zone. Buddhism-related performances, temple cuisines and experiences are also prepared for both local and international participants to enjoy and learn about this local culture using all five senses.

  • ☞ Period: 12:00-18:00 May 13, 2018
  • ☞ Venue: Areas of Jogyesa Temple
  • ☞ Directions: Jonggak Station (Seoul Subway Line 1), Exit 2. Walk approx. 6 min. / Anguk Station (Seoul Subway Line 3), Exit 6. Walk approx. 6 min.
  • ☞ Parade reserved seating & participation registration guide
    - Download and fill out the registration form from Yeon Deung Hoe website and submit it to idia@buddhism.or.kr via e-mail or +82-2-722-2203 via fax by April 27, 2018. (Reservation required)
  • ☞ Inquiries (seating & parade participation): International Dharma Instructors’ Association +82-2-722-2206 (Korean, English), +82-10-3256-4128 (English), idia@buddhism.or.kr

4. Yeondeungnori (Final Celebration)

Jogyesa Temple Children’s Parade during Yeondeungnori (Credit: Yeon Deung Hoe)

From the streets of Insa-dong to the road before Jogyesa Temple and all around the area of Jongno, the Lotus Lantern Festival will end in a final parade with grand lanterns and the music of a street performing troupe. The performers, visitors, and lanterns will come together for a fun and exciting time full of dancing and laughter in the streets. 

  • ☞ Period: 19:00-21:00 May 13, 2018
  • ☞ Venue: Street before Jogyesa Temple (Gongpyeong Intersection), Insa-dong
  • ☞ Directions (Jogyesa Temple): Jonggak Station (Seoul Subway Line 1), Exit 2. Walk approx. 6 min. / Anguk Station (Seoul Subway Line 3), Exit 6. Walk approx. 6 min.
More Info
  • Yeon Deung Hoe (Lotus Lantern Festival)
  • ☞ Period: May 11-13, 2018
  • ☞ Venue: Jongno Avenue (Heunginjimun GateJogyesa Temple), street in front of Jogyesa Temple
  • ☞ Yeon Deung Hoe website: www.llf.or.kr (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese, French, German, Spanish)
  • ☞ Inquiries: +82-2-2011-1744 (Korean), +82-2-2011-1746 (English)
  • ☞ 1330 Korea Travel Hotline: +82-2-1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese, Russian, Vietnamese, Thai, Malay)

*This column was last updated in April 2018, and therefore information may differ from what is presented here. We advise you to check details from the official website before visiting.