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Lotus lantern festival designated as Korea's "important intangible cultural

by Emi Hayakawa, BTN, April 27, 2012

Seoul, South Korea -- The Lotus lantern festival, “Yeondeunghoe” in Korean, was designated the intangible cultural heritage No. 122 by the Cultural heritage administration.

And now, the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism announced that "Yeondeunghoe," a lotus lantern festival held by Buddhists, is also a candidate for UNESCO Memory of the World designation, the administration said.

Yeondeunghoe initially started as a Buddhist tradition held on the day of Daeboreum, the first full moon of the lunar calendar, in the Shilla Kingdom (57 B.C.-935 A.D.). The religious ceremony has now become an annual event to celebrate Buddha's birthday in downtown Seoul where a lantern parade and street fair take place.

The Jogye Order plan to create an office and hire more people within the Jogye Order headquarters to propel the Yeondeunghoe to be designated as the UNESCO Memory of the World.

Before the festival was designated the intangible cultura heritage, many protestants and christians protested against this event, however now the Korean government announced their support for the festival.

Choi Kwang sik, the Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism urged the UNESCO committee “..to experience the other three world festivals, and to come to Korea to experience and enjoy the Lantern Festival with us, and to actively promote and support the lantern festival.”

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