Traditional events welcome Chuseok holiday
By Chung Ah-young
As Chuseok holiday starts this weekend, people are busy preparing to visit their hometowns, turning the hustle-and-bustle of Seoul into a ghost town. But those who stay in the city don’t have to feel empty as there are diverse cultural programs taking place while everyone is away.
The National Folk Museum of Korea is holding a “hangawi” (harvest moon) multicultural festival titled “Round and Round” through Sept. 13.
The festival offers more than 40 participatory programs, including a food-making opportunity, folk performances of five countries, multicultural exhibitions, and traditional craft-making and folk games.
Designed to draw more participation from multicultural families from China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Japan, Mongolia and Thailand the special festival aims to boost reciprocal understanding and cultural exchange.
Foreign students coming from various fields such as art, sports, media and tourism will make three-colored “songpyeon” (Korean rice cake) and “baesuk” (Korean pear punch) at the cooking class for foreign students on Sept. 8-9.
From Sept. 10 to 13, visitors can take part in diverse folk games such as “tuho” (a arrow throwing game), a hoop game, “jegichagi,” a kicking shuttlecock game, make handcrafts with “hanji” (Korean paper), make “sotdae” (a tall pole with a carved bird on its top), make traditional masks and draw folk paintings or play a bamboo vertical flute.
Particularly, Korean visitors can taste international cuisines such as Vietnamese rice wraps, Chinese Zong Zi (lotus leaf wrap of sweet rice), Japanese mitarashidango (rice dumplings and sweet sauce), and Philippine Biko (sweet rice with coconut milk) for only 1,000 won at the multicultural culinary booth. Admission is free. For more information call (02) 3704-3122 or visit www.nfm.go.kr.
The National Museum of Korea will provide a gugak (Korean traditional music) concert at the Plaza of the museum on Sept. 12 to mark the big Korean traditional holiday.
Yeomin, a traditional pops orchestra consisting of 33 members, singer and actress Oh Jeong-hae, traditional bamboo flutist Han Chung-eun and singer Go Geum-seong will perform a diverse music repertoire in a 90-minute concert. Oh known as the heroine of the film “Seopyeongje” and Yeomin will perform “Taepyeongga,” “Miryang Arirang” and “Float the Boat.” The orchestra will present not only traditional Korean music but also pop songs and famous film soundtracks. Admission is free. For more information call (02) 2077-9000 or 1544-5955 or visit www.museum.go.kr.
The Cultural Heritage Administration (CHA) will open the four major royal palaces — Deoksu, Changgyeong, Changdeok and Gyeongbok — on Chuseok Day, which falls on Sept. 12 and hold cultural events there.
Part of the main event is a traditional folk song concert on Sept. 12-13 in front of Jeukjojeon of Deoksu Palace while a photo event will take place on Sept. 12 in front of Tongmyeongjeon of Changgyeong Palace. In Changdeok Palace, a nighttime event will invite some 100 Korean visitors on Sept. 12 and 100 foreigners on Sept. 13 to diverse programs such as traditional performances, with walking and lighting events. Applicants can make reservations at www.chf.or.kr.
The National Gugak Center will present a special performance “Yeonhui, Let’s Play 2” by its resident folk troupe on Sept. 8-9 and “Hangawi: Welcome to the First Full Moon” on Sept. 12-13.
“Yeonhui, Let’s Play 2” is an annual series by the center which reconstitutes “pungmul nori,” folk music accompanied by percussion instruments. This year, the piece reinterprets the drum dances originating from Daegu and “mueul nongak” or farmers’ music, which are the main features of the traditional music performances in Gyeongsang Provinces. On the outdoor stage, 14 drums will resonate along with a shamanist performance. Human treasure Kim Soo-ki will perform a shamanist ritual praying for peace and safety for people. Admission is free. For more details, visit www.gugak.go.kr.
“Hangawi: Welcome to the First Full Moon” is based on the Bongsan Mask Dance (Intangible Cultural Asset No. 17) and comprised of five sections — opening; “chaekgeori” (after-reading activities) and palanquin fights; pungmul madang; group dances; and drum dances — which are full of humor. The performance will be delivered through a story of an old man’s journey around the nation. Tickets cost 10,000 won. For more information call (02) 580-3300. On the outdoor stage, various folk games and programs to experience traditional aspects of the holiday will take place.
The National Theater of Korea will hold a special festival for Chuseok on Sept. 12 with a variety of events and food. The program includes a “ssireum” (Korean wrestling) bout hosted by Park Kwang-deok, a traditional wrestler and entertainer, who will also award prizes to the winners.
The Dongchun Circus, the nation’s oldest and most popular acrobatic troupe, will entertain visitors at the finale of the festival. Other folk games along with various foods can also be enjoyed. For more information, call (02) 2280-4115-6.