So, it was cold and it was windy but that did not prevent about five trillion people from showing up at the Cheonggyecheon for the opening festivities of the Seoul Lantern Festival. I realized many of those people had come to see and hear the Hallyu headliners perform for free.
K-Pop ain't my bag, so I wandered downstream to get a good look at the "lanterns", which were more like parade floats or statues, really. As you walk downstream, you pass through various zones, focusing on a particular theme.
Perhaps my favorite was the animals of Korean nature and mythology. The Korean tiger, now extinct in nature, and the dragon, have long been staples of Korean folktales (remember to click on the images to see a larger version):
The red-crowned crane is a Taoist symbol of longevity and immortality; it is also revered for its nobility. That's a red-crowned crane on the JAL logo, incidentally.
The bull and the panda were particularly well-done:
There were lots of lanterns of traditional Korean activities, like the wrestlers, the juggler, and the palace guards:
A couple other favs included the space shuttle, and the giant VW Beetle:
There was a tunnel/bridge across the stream made from lanterns:
The walls along the sides of the stream near the stage end had lanterns on which you could leave a message. This is very common at festivals here--I wonder what happens to all these items...
The section closest to the origin consisted of famous landmarks from around the world, including Gwanghwamun (Seoul's own main palace gate), Big Ben, and the Leaning Tower of Pisa: