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Festivals, events to delight on Chuseok holidays

Chuseok holiday, an autumn harvest festival that is often described as the Korean equivalent of Thanksgiving, is around the corner as the long weekend begins this Saturday.

This year, Chuseok falls on September 12 (August 15 by the lunar calendar) and the days before and after Chuseok Day are statutory holidays, so people can have a four-day holiday which will run until September 13.

Downtown Seoul and other major cities around the country will be hosting many special Chuseok-related events to mark one of Korea's most significant holidays.

For those who wish to spend the holidays having fun with family members, friends, or sweethearts, here are some tips for things to do over the long weekend.

A Samulnori performance (left); a Jultagi (rope-walking) performance (right) (photos courtesy of Namsangol Hanok Village)


Namsangol Hanok Village, located in Chungmuro, will host a folk culture event from September 10 to 13. Visitors can enjoy various traditional cultural performances, including a samulnori (percussion quartet) performance and jultagi (rope-walking). The village will also provide traditional farm tools so that people can learn about agricultural life in the past. People can also have fun trying various folk games like tuho (arrow-throwing), yunnori (a traditional four-stick board game), jegichagi (shuttlecock), and neolttwigi (see-saw). For more information, visit the homepage of Namsangol Hanok Village (http://visitseoul.net/en/article/article.do?_method=view&art_id=10495&lang=en&m=0004003002009&p=03) (Korean, English, Chinese, Japanese).

A special outdoor stage will be set up at Sejong Center for the Performing Arts on September 10, 12, and 13 to present a variety of performances, including a percussion show, a traditional court dance, and fusion gugak, a modern take on traditional Korean music. There will also be namsadang-nori, a circus-like performance from the late Joseon Dynasty period (1392-1910) which UNESCO listed as an intangible cultural heritage. The show will begin at 7:30 p.m. on September 10 and September 13 and at 4:30 p.m. on September 12.

Sejong Belt, a cultural tour package belt, also offers a variety of cultural package programs for the upcoming holidays. Sejong Belt is a city-wide initiative comprised of 50 different tour packages involving 30 different arts and cultural organizations, performance halls, museums, galleries, and heritage sites around Gwanghwamun in central Seoul. People can choose a cultural tour program from more than 100 package programs for their friends, family members, or sweethearts and get up to a 20- to 50-percent discount. For more information about the cultural tour package programs, visit the homepage of Sejong Belt (www.sejongbelt.com) (Korean, English, Chinese, Japanese). 

(Jumping on the Neolttwigi (see-saw) (left); People try traditional farming tools (right) (photos courtesy of Namsangol Hanok Village).

On September 12 starting at 1 p.m., Seoul Plaza in front of City Hall will hold a special event for Hangawi (another name for Chuseok). Traditional cultural programs will be staged, and at 7 p.m. a two-hour gugak music performance will be staged featuring traditional and fusion gugak and old Korean pop songs from various musicians, including the famous pansori singer Ahn Sook-seon. Visitors can learn more about traditional Korean culture through various kinds of cultural activities and folk games during the day. 

Palaces, royal tomb sites, and other historic sites like Jongmyo will also host cultural events during the Chuseok holidays. Some historic sites will be admission-free for all visitors. People who wear Hanbok, or traditional Korean garments, will get free admission to the four major palaces in Seoul during the holidays from September 11 to 13.

(From left) Overseas women married to Korean spouses try making songpyeon, a half-moon rice cake traditionally made for Chuseok; French children try tteongme (pounding steamed rice to make rice cakes) at a village in southern Seoul (Yonhap News).


* Multicultural festival to mark Chuseok holiday

Seoul Museum of History will host a multicultural festival from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on September 12 in front of the museum. Visitors can enjoy multicultural performances and experience folk games, traditional costumes and the foods of China, Thailand, Poland, Spain, Russia, and many other countries around the globe. For more information about the museum and the event venue, visit the museum’s homepage (http://www.museum.seoul.kr/eng/eh_main.jsp) (Korean, English, Chinese, Japanese).

The National Folk Museum of Korea will host various events for Chuseok from September 3 to 13. These events include a cooking class for traditional Chuseok food, folk games, and a traditional handcraft class. On the evening of September 12, the museum will set up a special stage where samulnori, B-boy breakdancing, and Ganggangsuwollae performances will be held. Listed as a UNESCO intangible cultural heritage, Ganggangsuwollae is a traditional all-female group dance that combines singing, dance, and music simultaneously and only takes place on special occasions, such as on Chuseok or New Year's Day. The museum will also offer a special gift on September 12 and 13 for visitors who wear the traditional costumes of other countries like China, Japan, or Vietnam. For more information about the museum, visit the homepage (http://www.nfm.go.kr:8080/english/main.jsp) (Korean, English, Chinese, Japanese).

Some noticeable multicultural festivals will be held on September 11 at the Borderless Village in Wongok-dong, Ansan, and the Counseling Center for Migrant Workers in Daegu.

The Borderless Village in Wongok-dong has been holding an annual Chuseok festival for more than ten years. This year’s festival is composed of a special arm-wrestling competition and cultural performances, including a magic show, fusion gugak, and a pan flute performance by Andean musicians.

The Counseling Center for Migrant Workers in Daegu will also hold a special event on September 11 at Daegu Gymnasium which is expected to draw 3,000 visitors, including migrant workers. The famous Filipino singer Freddie Agnilar will be invited to perform on a special stage for the event. For more information about the center, visit the homepage (http://www.withpeople.or.kr) (Korean only).

By Yoon Sojung
Korea.net Staff Writer

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