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Celebrate Buddha’s Birthday: Lantern Festival 2024

seoul visit lantern festival

The celebration of Buddha's Birthday, or "Bucheonim Osin Nal" in Korean, marks a significant public holiday in South Korea, typically observed on the eighth day of the fourth lunar month, which usually falls in April or May according to the Gregorian calendar. In 2024, Buddha's Birthday is on May 15th.

seoul 2021 lantern festival


This occasion is deeply rooted in the country's cultural and religious heritage. Across South Korea, Buddha's Birthday is celebrated with various rituals, ceremonies, and events.

seoul lantern festival crowd 2021
lit lantern for festival


One of the most iconic traditions involves adorning temples and streets with colorful lanterns, symbolizing enlightenment and the illuminating teachings of Buddha. Originating around 1200 years ago during the Silla period, the Buddhist Lantern Festival, known as Yeondeunghoe, continues to be celebrated to this day, earning UNESCO's designation as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

seoul lantern festival 2024
seoul festival crowd


On April 17th, the Lantern Lighting Ceremony took place ahead of Buddha's Birthday in front of Gwanghwamun. Around 900 key figures from the Buddhist community, including Seoul Mayor Oh, attended this year's Lantern Lighting Ceremony. The lantern tower, shaped like the nine-story wooden temple of Hwangnyongsa, embodies the wish for peace and happiness to fill hearts and the world.

latern festival seoul


Experience the mesmerizing glow of the Buddhist Lantern Festival, illuminating the streets of Seoul until May 15th! You can see the lantern installations at Songhyeon Green Plaza, Gwanghwamun Square, Cheonggye Plaza, and around Jogyesa Temple in Jongno. Join the celebration and immerse yourself in the radiant beauty of this ancient tradition.

📍 Gwanghwamun Square (172 Sejong-daero, Jongno-gu, Seoul)

Photo source: Seoul Metropolitan Government

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