On November 16th, the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage made the decision during its 15th session, taking place online.
The Lotus Lantern Festival, also known as "Yeondeunghoe" in Korean, is a traditional cultural event held in Seoul each year for three days around Buddha’s Birthday (April 8 on the lunar calendar) involving lotus lanterns. Lotus lanterns have been used for more than 1,300 years in religious ceremonies where a wish for grace and mercy to be bestowed upon the world is made through a national festival. Starting with a lighting ceremony, the festival includes a traditional lantern exhibition, a lantern parade through Insadong-gil, Jonggak, and Jogyesa Temple, traditional cultural events, and Yeondeungnori (final celebration).
The UNESCO committee reportedly took note of the inclusiveness and cultural diversity of Yeondeunghoe, which transcends nationality, race, and religion.
With the inclusion of the festival, South Korea now has 21 cultural assets inscribed as UNESCO intangible cultural heritage. Other assets recognized by UNESCO on the list include the Korean folk music genre pansori, traditional wrestling ssireum, and the folk song Arirang.