SEOUL, Dec. 18 (Yonhap) -- President Moon Jae-in on Friday hailed this week's UNESCO inscription of South Korea's lantern lighting festival to celebrate Buddha's birthday as intangible cultural heritage.
The official inscription of the Lantern Lighting Festival, or "Yeondeunghoe" in Korean, came at the 15th session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage on Wednesday (Korea time).
"This is proud and joyous news," Moon said in a tweet. "The government will promote the country's excellent traditional culture to the international community and always make efforts to enhance cultural diversity and creativity."
"When we preserve our precious intangible culture well, and inherit and develop it, its spirit and historical, cultural and artistic value will become greater, and our cultural diversity will further develop," he added.
The festival of lights, held annually in line with Buddha's birthday on April 8 on the lunar calendar, symbolizes lighting up the world to make it an abundant and fair place for everyone.
With the inclusion of the festival, South Korea now has 21 intangible cultural assets inscribed as UNESCO intangible cultural heritage. They include pansori epic chanting, the royal ancestral ritual at the Jongmyo shrine and its music, as well as the culture of Jeju "haenyeo," or women divers on the southern resort island of Jeju.