Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Christmas in Seoul

I was really nervous about having Christmas in Korea. I have never spent the holiday away from my family and I thought it just would make the winter depressing without something to look forward to. I was not sure how Korea would (if they did at all) celebrate this holiday. Most Koreans are not Christian and the culture is obviously not a Christian one. But surprisingly, Seoul did a GREAT job of celebrating this holiday. I guess this is not surprising though considering they take to western ideas like fish to water and what is more western than Christmas??
sculpture at Seoul Plaza that had an outline of an Haechi

On December 18th they advertised for this big lights night. It was supposed to be a big lighting and things all over the city. There was supposed to be a big light show as well and things up and down the river. We decided to go and take some pictures and get in the holiday spirit. For some reason though there seemed to be some confusion on "holiday lights". We started off at Seoul Plaza where they had an exhibit for this artic research station that Korea has. The mixed in with the station were all these decorated Haechi's. Haechi's are the mythelogical creature that was believed to live in the mountains surronding Seoul that protected the city. I think they are darling and am a bit obsessed with them.
Riding a Haechi. You can take a girl out of Texas but can't take Texas out of a girl

So we walked around there a bit. While we were at one of the "stations" we got caught up in a huge group of poeple which we soon found out was the mayor.
A famous Korean cartoon character. We were all in love

We then walked down to the stream. Where there was supposed to be lights. We saw a huge chirstmas tree and all these people standing around. And oh look.... its the mayor again. He was lighting the tree (which was fairly dinky) and there was lost of cheering.

It was almost 7 so we started to walk to the "main event". There were people everywhere and we managed to find our way behind the stage. As we sat waiting for the event to start we looked around the dark plaza at all the chrstimas lights that were off and couldnt wait to see them all turned out. Then music started and out came.... the mayor! There was some tlaking and some music then everyone put their hands on those electric globe things (?) and then... nothing.... nothing...
The mayor giving his speech before starting the "show"
Ahhhh its.....

.... weird shapes on the building?
I wish I could say this picture was staged. It was really that loud.

They had some bizarre video playing on the buildings. No lights no nothing. And it wasnt even Christmas themed. And it had the LOUDEST house music ever pumping through the plaza. It was the most bizarre unchristmas like thing I had ever witnessed. Oh well we still had a laugh and a great time with friends!
Alex and I in front of the only Christmas lights at the "Light Festival"

Overall though Christmas season was a blast here. There were lots of lights everywhere and good old fashion christmas tunes. I also volunteered to hand out coffee to homeless men at a train station and sing carols which was probably one of the highlights from the season.

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