Blooms Declare the Start of SpringApril would not be April without the flowers in bloom all over the country. Forsythia, rape flowers and azaleas are finally blossoming around Seoul after a winter that seemed intent on foiling spring. Flower festivals in Seoul and nearby areas such as Yong-in, Bundang, and Suwon began at the weekend. How about taking the family away from the daily grind to celebrate spring?
Cherry Blossom Festival
The Yunjung road in Yeouido is lined with cherry trees, and the road is a well-known tourist attraction in spring, when the trees are in full bloom. This year, a Cherry Blossom Festival on Yunjung road will be held between Tuesday and April 25. During that period, traffic will be blocked at certain times on a 1,500-meter-long section of the road between between Seogang bridge and Pacheon bridge to allow pedestrians to wander on foot.
One of Korea's biggest theme parks, Everland, located in the Yong-in area (south of Seoul), is currently holding its annual Tulip Festival. Starting Tuesday, Everland will display various spring flowers, including cherry blossoms, forsythia and azaleas, in addition to tulips.
Everland boasts over 5,000 40-year-old cherry trees between Maseong tollgate, the main gate to the theme park, and the Ho-Am Art Museum. And the 60,000 azalea trees, royal azaleas, forsythia and bridal wreaths planted around the zoo are stunning.
For more information, call 031-320-5000 (English service available).
Cherry Blossom Festival
In Bundang, there will be another cherry blossom festival between April 21 and 22. Last year, about 200 cherry trees were planted on roads around the Sunae village office, and this year they will blossom for the first time. On the first day of the festival, there will be performances by a fife-and-drum corps, a Korean traditional folk band, a jazz band and more. Hong Gi-cheol, a professional tightrope walker, will also show off his skills. Later there will be performances of Korean classical music accompanied by fireworks.
The main events of the second day include a dance music festival for youths, Korean traditional dance performances, an aerobics display to trot or bongjak music and a talent show featuring local residents. Visitors can have their family mottos calligraphically written or participate in traditional games. Also, a food market that sells snacks and refreshments will be open during the festival. For more information, call the village office at 031-711-3543 (Korean service only).
A flower festival at the Children's Park in Neung-dong runs until May 13, during which time the park will stay open until 10 p.m. to give visitors a chance to enjoy the beautiful cherry blossoms in the moonlight. There are also many other gardens in the park where you can enjoy other spring flowers such as azaleas. The park's renovated zoo and animal show hall opened just in time on Friday.
There are also weekend highlights. This weekend there will be singing and dancing competitions, and on April 21 and 22 a variety of dance performances are scheduled. For more information, call the park at 02-450-9305 (English service available).
Suwon in Kyonggi province will open its provincial office to the public and offer various cultural events between April 13 and 22. On the first day high school students will lead a fife-and-drum parade and there will be a performance by a folk band. On the second day, watch shows by a samulnori, Korean traditional percussion, quartet, a nong-aknori peasant band, a namsadangnori, group of traveling male entertainers, troupe and a concert by a provincial pop-orchestra. There will be a performance by a Korean university cheerleader squad, a literary contest for housewives and a singing contest for elders. For more information, call 031-249-2114 (Korean service only).
by Chung Chan-min