Festivals and Events in South Korea

339

Participating in festivals and events when travelling a country is the best way to understand more about culture and traditions of that place. In Korea, a festival is always characterised by elaborate dress, bright and dazzling colours, music, dancing, food and high spirits. Tourists can enjoy a distinctive Korea when they come to South Korean festivals.

>>   Visiting Ao Nang

Chuseok

Chuseok is known as the Korean Thanksgiving and falls on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month. Originally, the festival was for the people to give thanks to their ancestors for a plentiful harvest. Nowadays it is celebrated by exchanging gifts as the women of each family prepare a variety of special dishes, most of which include the newly harvested rice, for which Koreans are so thankful. Songpyeon, a cake made from ground rice and stuffed with red beans, chestnuts and sesame seeds, is a traditional dish eaten during this festival.

BIFF (Busan International Film Festival)

BIFF 2014 via boomsbeat.com
One of Asia’s biggest and most influential films festivals, BIFF aims to showcase and promote the work of up and coming directors, particularly from Asia, and screen some of the newest and hottest films around. The festival takes place at the Busan Cinema Centre and includes a number of different talks and masterclasses in addition to showing films from a variety of different genres and styles. Awards are given out in various categories, such as the two best feature films, best actor and actress, the film that gained the most acclaim from the audience and the best world documentary film. Prizes are all in cash as a way to help film-makers with their next projects.

Ultra Korea Music Festival

Seoul welcomes to the stage some of the hottest artists and DJs in the world during the Ultra Korea Music Festival. Past performers of this global music extravaganza have included Deadmau5, Chase & Status, Afrojack, Armin van Buuren and Avicii. The vibe at the festival is always electric, and not just because of the electronic beats coming from the gigantic speakers at the front. Hundreds of thousands of music lovers make their way to the capital for this event as they pay homage to some of their best loved rhythm-makers.

Gangneung Dano Festival

Gangneung Dano Festival via Wikipedia 
The Dano festival is celebrated across both North and South Korea but the Gangneung branch has gained special recognition by spectators and UNESCO who designated it one of the “Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity”. Traditionally, during this festival, women would wash their hair with water that has been boiled with sweet flag (a wetland plant) while men engaged in wrestling matches. Blue and red traditional clothes are also worn for the duration of the festival and music, singing and wine all make generous appearances.

Boryeong Mud Festival

Each year, the muddy shores of Boryeong see an influx of visitors as hordes of locals and foreigners head to the Mud Festival for the chance to blow off some steam while they get their hands dirty (literally). Mud sliding, mud massages and mud wrestling are just some of the messy events that take place during this unique festival. The mud itself is sought after for its curative properties and whilst celebrating, men and women cake themselves in it with the hopes that their skin will be all the better for it afterwards.

Calendar

March 24th-26th – Ultra Korea Music Festival (Seoul)
May 27th – June 3rd – Gangneung Dano Festival (Gangneung)
July 14th-23rd – Boryeong Mud Festival (Boryeong)
October 4th-6th – Chuseok (Nationwide)
October 12th-21st – BIFF (Busan)

For questions or suggestions about things to do when travelling, please feel free to let us know in the comments section and we’ll do our best to reply to them as soon as possible.