The 2013 Jinju Namgang Yudeung Festival will light up the Namgang River along Jinju City in Gyeongsangnam-do Province from October 1 to 13.
The festival dates back to the Jinjuseong Battle (1592) during the Imjin Waeran (Japanese Invasion, 1592-1598). During the war, lanterns were used as military signals, a means of communicating with reserve forces, and as a way to keep in touch with family members outside of Jinjuseong Fortress. Even after the war, people continued the tradition of floating lanterns down the river to pay tribute to the brave souls that had been lost during battle. The tradition later developed into the Jinju Namgang Festival, the lantern festival we know and love today.
Magnificent yet humble, the hundreds of Yudeung lanterns spread throughout the festival grounds are not just a visually stunning sight, their shapes also carry great significance. Many of the lanterns represent the nation’s traditions and symbols (tigers, traditional instruments, Korean dances, etc.). Even legends and famous events from Korea’s history are told through lantern displays. With Korea’s continued focus on globalization, it’s not surprising that there is also a section of lanterns shaped like animals and other symbols that represent over 30 countries from around the world.
Despite the astounding array of lantern shapes, colors, and folktales, one of the most popular areas of the festival is the “Tunnel of Wish Lanterns.” In the tunnel, over ten thousand wish lanterns bob and sway in the wind, each bearing a special wish from a festival visitor. As you stroll through the illuminated tunnel of dreams and hopes, it’s not hard to believe that each dream really can come true.
- Lanterns of Korean Traditions
- Lanterns showcasing the nation’s proud traditions, culture, and folk games fill Jinjuseong Fortress and the Namgang River. Come dusk when the lanterns are lit, scenes from the Jinjuseong Battle (fencing, martial arts on horseback, etc.) come to life in a gentle glow that warms the fall night air.
- World Lanterns
From 34 different countries, super-sized lanterns representing landmarks, animals, customs, and traditions including the Statue of Liberty (USA), the Sphinx (Egypt), a kangaroo (Australia), the Trojan Horse (Turkey), and a windmill (Holland) will float along the river in an eye-catching display.
- Hanging of Wish Lanterns
Local and international tourists can write their wish on a wish lantern and hang them in a tunnel. From October 1 to 13, 2013, visitors can see about 29,000 wish lanterns bob and sway in the wind by the Namgang riverside. The price for a wish lantern is 10,000 won and only cash payments are accepted.
- Float Your Own Lantern
- Join in this popular program to make your own wish lantern. Once you finish, light your lantern and send it down the Namgang River. The event is held at the Namgang riverside in Manggyeong-dong and the riverside in Seongji-dong from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. from October 1 to 13, 2013. The fee is 3,000 won (cash only).
- Floating Bridge of Love
- From the floating bridge on the Namgang River, enjoy the enchanting glow of the lantern lights all over the river. Don’t miss the breathtaking night view of Chokseongnu Pavilion of Jinjuseong Fortress located along the river. The event is held daily from 10 a.m. to midnight and the one-way crossing price is 1,000 won (cash only).
- Ferry on Namgang River
- Take a closer look at the lanterns of Namgang River as you ride in style. On the ferry, a Korean Culture & Tourism Guide (Korean only) will explain more about the history of Jinju and the lanterns.
Daytime (13:00 – 18:00): 4,000 won
Nighttime (18:00-24:00): 5,000 won
Jinjuseong Fortress (where the festival takes place) is one of the major tourist attractions in Jinju. By day, visit Chokseongnu Pavilion and the Jinju National Museum located inside the fortress. As dusk falls, check out the lanterns and the hands-on programs just outside the fortress walls. Throughout the festival period, admission to Jinjuseong Fortress and Chokseongnu Pavilion is free of charge.
One of the local specialties of Jinju is broiled eel. To enjoy this healthy and delicious dish, visit one of the riverside restaurants outside Jinjuseong Fortress.
If you’re coming from another town to visit the Jinju lantern festival, you may want to plan a one-night, two-day stay in Jinju. The festival venue is easily accessible via public transportation and a variety of accommodation options are located nearby. The Jinju Express Bus Terminal is only 5 minutes away from the festival venue by taxi, and a number of inns and the Jinju Intercity Bus Terminal are only about 10 minutes away on foot.
<2012 Jinju Namgang Yudeung Festival Video Clips>
2013 Jinju Namgang Yudeung Festival
☞ Period: October 1-13, 2013
☞ Venue: Gyeongsangnam-do Jinju-si Namgang River area and Jinjuseong Fortress
☞ Jinju Namgang Yudeung (lantern) Festival homepage: www.yudeung.com (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
☞ Jinju-si homepage: http://www.jinju.go.kr/main/ (Korean, English, Japanese)
☞ 1330 Korea Travel Hotline: +82-2-1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
☞ Related Column
Korea Festivals: September – November
Last updated on September 4, 2013