Jinju Lantern Festival is located on the Namgan River in Jinju-si, South Korea in October of every year, and is a spectacular light display with lantern workshops and exhibitions to commemorate those that lost their lives during the Jinjuseong Battle of 1592. At the time of the Japanese Invasion, the people of Jinju used lanterns as a means of communication with those outside the Jinjuseong Fortress, military forces and family members alike. This tradition continued long after the battle and transformed into what we witness today, as a memorable lantern festival that is both beautifully entertaining and honourable in its significance. This historic event attracts locals and foreigners alike, and encourages different cultures to be united and expressed together in the festival, as part of Korea’s effort in globalization.
You can see many lanterns made by students of Jinju, as well as whoever wants to participate in the practical side of the event, all sitting pretty on the long stretch of river. With symbols of other countries just as evident as traditional Korean lanterns, a walk along the river once the sun goes down and the lanterns light up is a breathtaking view. You can even make a wish and send it off in your own lantern down the river.
As well as the stunning water displays, you will find the “Tunnel of Wish Lanterns” on the river bank with over 30,000 red lanterns lighting up the street. These lanterns bare wishes from local citizens, making the fiery tunnel that much more meaningful as you walk through the alluring lights.
With many food stands from different countries as well as local delicacies, handcrafted ornaments and furniture features, there are many things to see, eat, and try out while you stroll the riverbed. To add to the picturesque scene there is a wonderful firework display at 11pm right above the river. Grab a drink, take a seat on a rock by the water and take it all in. It’s truly magical, and the festival as a whole is one that shouldn’t be missed if you happen to be in the area. The city of Jinju is a lovely one at that, so make a weekend out of it and enjoy everything this southern city has to offer.