See how this unique cultural festival is lighting up the streets of Seoul

The lantern festival is one of Seoul’s most distinctive cultural festivals. It lights up Seoul’s streets for 13 years straight to the delight of both locals and tourists.

The 10-day festival, which began last week, features 83 giant paper lanterns that follow the theme of “Forest of Healing, Colors of Seoul”. This theme aims to bring peace and healing to people who have been through a difficult time.

ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP or licensors
ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP or licensors
ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP or licensors

The festival was split into four locations last year because of the pandemic. This year, it returned to its original home at the Cheonggye stream which runs through downtown Seoul.

ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP or licensors
ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP or licensors

The Return of Tourism to South Korea festival will be held strictly in compliance with quarantine regulations. Before they can enter, visitors must pass body temperature tests and complete visitor registration.

The festival’s organizers have also created a virtual version that is available online. This allows guests to view 10 exhibits with AR technology.

ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP or licensors
ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP or licensors

Seoul Tourism board held a national paper lantern contest earlier this year to receive a special entry in the festival. Along with the other submissions, the winning forest-themed lantern was presented.

Paper lanterns are used to lighten the dark winter days and signal the start of the holiday season in Korean culture. This is a time when people can let go of their troubles and enjoy fun activities.