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National Intangible Cultural Heritage

Yeondeunghoe (Buddhist Lantern Festival)

연등회 ( 燃燈會 )

Heritage Search Detail
Classification National Intangible Cultural Heritage
Name of Cultural Properties Yeondeunghoe (Buddhist Lantern Festival)
Designated Date 2012.04.06
Address Seoul - Jongno-gu

Records of Buddhist lantern festivals can be found in materials dating back to the 9th century, i.e., during the Unified Silla Period. The custom of holding lotus lantern festivals continued throughout the Goryeo and Joseon eras. The lotus lantern festivals of Silla and Goryeo were primarily a Buddhist event; during the Joseon Dynasty, however, the festival became more of a folk event. During the Japanese Colonial Period, a parade of lanterns was included in the festivities. The lantern festivals feature a Buddhist memorial service in the form of a lantern parade, for which a great variety of lanterns are produced. After the introduction of Buddhism to Korea, lantern festivals became important cultural events for both royalty and commoners over the period spanning Unified Silla and Goryeo to Joseon. Throughout Korea’s history, Goryeo lotus lantern festivals had an important social function; even during the Joseon Dynasty when Confucianism was the dominant religion, lotus lantern festivals were important cultural events for the common people, a tradition that has been maintained to the present day. It is currently under preparation.