Cultural Fall Festival OfferingsThis fall, provinces all over Korea are hosting festivals to celebrate their regional specialties. It could offer a great excuse for taking that awaited weekend vacation. Take a road trip due anywhere but Seoul and soak in some culture.
Drop by Chungju, where 600 masters of martial arts are gathering Sept. 28 to Oct. 3 from all over the world. The festival, called "Meeting of Martial Arts and 5000 Years of Ethnic Spirit," showcases martial arts from 44 organizations hailing from 23 countries. Call (043) 850-5165 for more information.
The island of Jeju-do is hosting a cultural festival Sept. 23 to Sept. 26. Call (064) 740-1686 to find out more about it.
Or head to Andong for a mask dance to be held from Sept. 29 to Oct. 8. The festival also showcases a variety of events, such as the "Andong Ethnic Festival,"the "Korean Puppet Festival," "Madang" dancing and a "Traditional Ethnic Music Exhibit." Call (054) 851-7393 for details.
To see an exhibit of laquered mother-of-pearl home accessories, head to South Gyeongsan Province between Sept. 30 to Oct. 3. Yuksa Historical Museum has gathered these treasures from benefactors. Some designs are over 400 years old. The museum will also host a lecture demonstrating the lacquer process. Call (055) 640-5101.
Kanghwa Island will host festivities that include a men's and women's beauty pageant, from Sept. 30 to Oct. 3. The winner will be chosen based on classic Korean beauty. The celebration will kick off with fireworks, a party, and a parade. Festivities include a fisherman's harvest celebration that originated in Mani Mountain and a traditional ceremony worshiping Heaven.
Visitors can participate in a calligraphy contest, an essay contest for women, a turnip cooking competition, a housewife painting competition and a family hiking trip. Tourists can also help create a tower of stacked stones. According to Korean tradition, one should make a wish as placing their stone. Call (032) 933-8022.
During the martial festival, Korea's Solim Martial Arts Academy will demonstrate its renowned fighting skills. Also of note is "Takgyun," a form of martial arts originated in Chungju, and "Shingijun," which is based uses necromancy.
Participating countries include Brazil, Thailand, Vietnam and North Africa. Capoeira hints at its origins as a creation by Brazilian slaves whose feet and arms were confined. Thailand's national martial art, "Muaithai," uses hands, arms, ankles and knees to attack an opponent. The Vietnamese initially used "Vietvodao" as self-protection against wild animals, but later it developed
into a form of martial arts. "Joolu" tribe warriors from North Africa are known for stick fighting.
There will workshops for the fearless. And martial arts movies will be screened for movie lovers on Sept. 29, Oct. 2 and Oct. 3.
by Kim Sae-joon