Every year in October, Jinju City, Gyeongsangnam-do, holds the “Gaechon Arts Festival” along with the “Jinju Namgang Lantern Festival.” However, in 2021, due to the worsening COVID-19 situation, it was postponed to December and held then.
“Origin of the Jinju Namgang Lantern Festival”
The origin of the Jinju Namgang Lantern Festival can be traced back to the first Battle of Jinju Fortress during the Japanese invasions of Korea in 1592. In October of 1592, General Kim Si-min, with only around 3,800 soldiers, achieved a victory at the Battle of Jinju, defeating the Japanese forces of 20,000.
During this battle, a tactical maneuver was used to stop the Japanese forces from crossing the Namgang River by raising lanterns along with rebel forces and reinforcements outside the fortress. This is where the tradition originated.
On June 29, 1593, during the second Battle of Jinju Fortress, 70,000 civilian and military personnel sacrificed themselves, and as a commemoration and a wish for the well-being of families and the nation, a lantern lighting ceremony was held as part of the Gaechon Arts Festival.
“2021 Jinju Namgang Lantern Festival”
Due to the spread of the coronavirus, the 2021 Jinju Namgang Lantern Festival was rescheduled and took place from December 4th to December 31st.
During the festival period, Jinju Fortress was open to the public for “free.” (Normally, there is an admission fee to enter Jinju Fortress, which is 2,000 won per adult.) However, even this was temporarily suspended due to the spread of COVID-19.
Although I did not specifically visit Jinju to see the lantern festival, when I happened to visit Jinju Fortress, I was fortunate enough to explore it for free during the lantern festival period and enjoy the displayed lanterns.
If I had a bit more time, I could have stayed until the evening to see the lanterns illuminated at night, but due to a busy schedule, I could only appreciate the daytime view.
In the future, when I have more time, I think it would be nice to visit Jinju Fortress during the Jinju Namgang Lantern Festival period to take in the sight of the lanterns.
“Jinju Jinju Fortress: 2021 Jinju Namgang Lantern Festival”
- Address: 626 Namgang-ro, Jinju-si, Gyeongsangnam-do, 52692, South Korea
- Duration: December 4, 2021 – December 31, 2021
- Phone number: 055-749-5171
- Website: https://yudeung.com/home