Saturday, December 5, 2009

Seoul Delights: Seoul Lantern Parade 2009

Since I will be missing this year's University of the Philippines yearly lantern parade, I was very happy to be able to witnessed Seoul's lantern parade version. As part of the 2010-2012 Visit Korea Year/s project of Korea (well of course who would implement such project other than Korea? lol), the country has been doing a lot of activities for the much anticipated launching next year. It's gonna be big, I guess, I can just imagine.

Seoul had a 6-day Lantern Parade at the Cheonggyecheon area, the city's business and "creativity" center. Not to mention that the Cheonggyecheon is also a place for couples and a source of a heated debate between Lee Myun-bak's government and the environementalists. According to sources, this is a $900 million project attracted much criticism initially but opened in 2005 and is now popular among Seoul residents and tourists. There was time when the stream got almost dried, so the city government had to pump 120,000 tons of water everyday. However, I guess, the stream is a big image lifter for what Seoul is trying to project, a city that tries to connect nature and metropolis. Anyway this is not what I wanna talk about in this entry. For more information

The event was to showcase what Seoul and Korea could present to the world. It gave me the idea of"what other countries can do/ have, we can also do it/ we have it." And definitely Korea has been making its move. Ranging from the lanterns of Seoul's impressive structures/landmarks, to Korea's traditional treasures, music, sports, dances to Korean Wave (lanterns of Rain and Lee Junki) and sports heroes. It also exbited lanterns of animals which for me represents Korea's support to "green growth-climate change" sort of package. A sort of protocol that a powerful country must support. It also tried to show famous landmarks in the world which I think the aim was to give the expectators the idea of "Korea's landmarks are comparable to what other countries have." Then lanterns of the expected landmarks which will be finished anytime soon in Seoul were also part of the highlights. These landmarks would be really amazing I think. Let's just wait and see. Then lanterns of Korea's cartoon characters which was I guess a good try ^^
I was a bit disappointed with the part wherein unique lanterns from some parts of the world were exhibited. There were lanterns from Vietnam, India, Myanmar, Nepal etc. but there was nothing from the Philippines. For a country that celebrates the longest Christmas in the world I don't think the research department of the said event should forget the unique Parol (Philippine lantern) of the Philippines.

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