Monday, October 15, 2012

Jinju Lanterns (part two)

After all of the fun of getting to Jinju and getting a hotel we got to get the real fun started. The Jinju Namgang Yudeung Festival, or Jinju Lantern Festival, is one of the best festivals in South Korea according to the Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism. It celebrates the two battles that took place there during the Imjin War. The significance of the lanterns is that they represent a successful tactic used against the Japanese to keep them from crossing the river during battle.

In the last post, I mentioned the difference between seeing the lanterns during the day and at night. As we walked from the train station to the hotel, we saw flower lanterns floating on the river.
After we left the hotel room to see the festival those flower lanterns were lit up, as well as the bridge. It changed the entire scene.

Since we didn't have much time we decided to just jump in and see all that we could instead of trying to find specific exhibits. We started out on the river bank closest to our hotel and worked our way toward the fortress. This turned out to be a good choice because it turned out that there were tons of different exhibits there. So many that we spent around two hours just in there and didn't manage to see everything!

The first lanterns within the gates of the fortress were these neat trees and birds. 

What really surprised me was that Soren asked to take a picture with me. Pleasantly surprised but still surprised! 

Now if only Hyrum had been looking in the right direction!

The first major exhibit reflected the nature of the festival. The fortress was "staffed" with lanterns. There were guards posted around to keep us tourists in line and soldiers fighting on the grass.

Soldiers fighting on horseback

A cart to carry away tourists...I mean prisoners. :D

Soldiers lining the steps
Again Soren surprised me by asking for a picture!
 Another of the exhibits was a display of Korean life. It showed many of the traditional tasks that would be performed both in and out of the home.

 We also got to see King Benjamen!!

Aside form all of the lanterns we were also able to see a lot of the old fortress and some cultural dancing.
The tactic that this festival celebrates is how the Koreans used lanterns to light the river so that the Japanese could not cross unnoticed at night. To commemorate this the river is filled with large decorative lanterns for the length of the festival. We only got to see a few of them since we only had one night.

The view down the river

The other major theme of the festival is hope and wishing. We took part in two of the wishing activities. The first activity was to take part in building lanterns made of wishes. Visitors write their wishes on strips of a plastic-like cloth and glue it to a metal frame.  We helped make the green chicken.
We sat down to eat some pineapple and this was the first English wish I could see.
Our green chicken!
One of the other wish lanterns, a brown bull.
A blue snake wish lantern.
The other wish activity we participated in was the floating wish lanterns. Visitors purchase floating lanterns with a candle inside and write their wishes on papers that are then taped to the outside.
Our lantern!
Our wish!
In the next three photos, our lantern is in the bottom right corner.
Floating down the river!
There it goes!

We had a great time and would have loved to stay longer. Alas, Saturdays are only so long.


  1. Wonderful pictures. Thanks for posting. It is great you were able to see this festival. The complex designs and wonderful colors are so evident.

  2. We didn't make it over to the castle. Next year we are going to have to get over there and see it. I heard the performances from the river and wanted to so badly. Shucks!