Back in September I began a post that would become a series. Today I bring to you the much anticipated second installment. Without any further adieu, The Festivals of Korea – Autumn!
- Yangyang Songi Mushroom Festival – Known to many as ‘golden mushrooms,’ ‘diamonds in the woods,’ and ‘mystic and magical mushrooms,’ songi mushrooms that naturally grow under old pine trees, are strictly prohibited from public access. However, if you go to the Yangyang Songi Festivals, you can tour the natural habitat of these luxurious and precious mushrooms, pick them, and sample dishes made with them.
- Andong Maskdance Festival – The Andong region has many highly renowned historic and cultural sites, such as Hahoe Village, however the major cultural attraction of the region is the Andong Maskdance Festival. The traditional mask dances are an important part of Korea’s heritage, in particular thebyeolsingut talnori dance, which has been designated an Important Intangible Cultural Asset of Korea. International mask dance troupes have also been invited to the festival, so not only will you have a chance to see many local Korean performances but you’ll also be exposed to folk cultures from around the world. You can even take dance lessons yourself.
- Gyeongju Liquor and Rice Cake Festival – The Gyeongju Rice Cake and Korean Traditional Drink Festival is a great opportunity to sample and shop for mouth-watering delicacies and home-brewed liquors from all regions of Korea, participate in the ancient royal tea ceremony, and learn traditional dining culture.
- Ceramics Festival of Gimhae – ‘Buncheongsagi‘ (blue porcelain)is a type of ceramic ware used during the 15th and 16th centuries, during the transition period from Cheongja (green porcelain) to Baekja (white porcelain). This Korean-style ceramic ware has received high acclaim for the simplicity of its beauty. This festival takes place in October every year in Gimhae, Korea’s most famous ceramic village. This festival sells this special ceramic ware, such as tea cups, made in the traditional methods and you can watch them being made or make some yourself. I’m not sure if the green and white pottery have festivals of their own…
- Gagopa Chrysanthemum Festival – Since its inception in 1960, chrysanthemum farming in Changwon has proliferated, accounting for 13% of nationwide chrysanthemum farming. The Changwon Gagopa Chrysanthemum Festival presents numerous exhibitions, cultural programs, food tasting, and many more. Yeah, so basically it’s a bunch of flowers.
- Gwangju World Kimchi Culture Festival – The Gwangju Kimchi Festival celebrates what could be called Korea’s national food, kimchi. The festival is full of exhibitions, educational and hands-on programs, and more kimchi than you can shake a stick at. Thanks to the wide open plains and easy access to Seohae (West Sea) and Namhae (South Sea) waters, Gwangju continues to cultivate bountiful products like rice and a variety of seafood, which are used as the basic ingredients for the region’s diverse delicacies. For more information about kimchi, you can read Fork It Over, my previous entry.
- Sunchang Fermented Soybean Festival – The Sunchang Fermented Sauce Festival is held every fall at Sunchang, a city of health and longevity. Sunchang hot pepper sauce, which used to be presented to the Royal Family during the Joseon Dynasty, has many health benefits: it is believed to be beneficial in preventing cancer and obesity. As people get more interested in their health and well-being, the hot sauce has become an even greater part of the Korean diet. The venue of the festival is Hot Sauce Folk Village, a Mecca of Sunchang Hot Sauce. The range of events at this festival include percussion performances, painting contests, photo exhibitions, and a hot sauce cook-off!
- Jinju Namgang Yudeung Festival – Also known as the Jinju Lantern Festival, the tradition of floating lanterns on Namgang River in Jinju City dates back to the 1592 Japanese invasion of Korea. In October 1592, during a battle between over 20,000 Japanese and only 3,000 Korean soldiers (the Siege of Jinju Fortress), Jinju people flew lanterns high up in the sky as a military signal and communication tool with soldiers outside the fortress, while floating lanterns and torches along Namgang River.