Thursday, September 22, 2011

Autumn festivals of Korea in motion to welcome visitors

An unexpectedly hot and wet summer winds down and now it’s time for us to venture outside and enjoy what nature has to offer in autumn.

Some may want to taste a range of newly-harvested agricultural and fisheries products in every corner of the country. Others may look to engage in a range of outdoor activities with family and friends as the pleasant weather encourages everyone to go outside.
Here are two autumn festivals you should check out.

Gimje Horizon Festival

Under the theme of ``Where the sky meets the land, come to Gimje,’’ the festival, which has been held for the past 13 years, is the perfect opportunity for those who want to see and experience what Korea’s agricultural industry was like in the past. The event will begin on Sept. 29 and continue through Oct. 3.

Jeolla Province has been the breadbasket of the country over the centuries and Gimje is an essential part of it.

Festival organizers said the event offers a range of programs in which visitors can take part in and experience firsthand what it was like to live as a farmer in Korea long ago.

``We have prepared a wide array of activities and cultural performances for tourists. They will get a chance to harvest rice in a traditional way and learn how to make rope, scarecrows and other handicrafts with straw,’’ said a spokesman for Gimje Horizon Festival Organizing Committee.

Visitors will also have the chance to shoot arrows and fly a kite, he said, adding there are many more fun-filled activities in store.
``They will get to taste a range of traditional Korean foods and if they want to, they can make them for themselves,’’ the spokesman said.

One of the highlights of the festival is ``Ssangyong Nori,’’ a fight between two dragons, which has become a local folk play among Gimje residents. The residents will reenact the fight as it is told in local myth.

Tourists can participate in a temple stay program at nearby Geumsansa Temple or spend a night with a farming family in the area, which are particularly popular options among foreign visitors.

For more information, call 063-540-3324 or visit

Andong Mask Dance Festival

The festival is a perfect excuse for those who want to visit Andong, where Hahoe Folk Village, a UNESCO’s World Heritage site, is located. The annual event will be held from Sept. 30 through Oct. 9 in Korea’s most well-known historic clan village and areas throughout the city.

The festival organizing committee has organized a total of 700 events on 10 stages during the 10-day fest. Dozens of mask dance troupes from over 15 countries will offer diverse performances.

``Both foreign and local dance troupes will perform a number of mask dances during the festival. Also, spectators will be invited to learn how to make masks and dance wearing them,’’ said a spokesman for Andong Mask Dance Festival Organizing Committee.

One of main events will be ``World Mask Dance Competition’’ where visitors can take part and compete for a 70 million won prize.

``They can also make their own masks and compete against one another in ``World Original Mask Competition.’’ We will organize so many more dance performances and participating programs for tourists. Come and enjoy what we have prepared,’’ the spokesman said.

For more information, call 054-841-6397, or visit

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