Get out there: Lots to do on Lunar New Year

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Get out there: Lots to do on Lunar New Year


Traditional folk performance group Noreummachi stages a narrative musical form of excorcism. Provided by The National Museum of Korea

The long lunar New Year’s holiday is approaching. Families gather and wish each other well, fly traditional kites and play yut, the traditional four-stick game.
But the celebrations aren’t complete without the more outgoing festivals.
From Wednesday to Sunday, Hanok Maeul in Pil-dong, central Seoul, is holding New Year performances, including pansori, a traditional Korean narrative style of song, minyo, or folk singing, a Dong Choon circus, tightrope dancing and the traditional Korean Bongsan masked dance.
Dong Choon is the oldest circus troupe in Korea. They perform at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday with a magic show and plate-spinning display.
There are more traditional and academic programs, including lectures on arranging dishes for ancestor memorial services and traditional cultural etiquette. For festival excitement, try playing jaegi, a kind of shuttlecock game played with the feet. You can also cut garaetteok using a stick of rounded rice cake, play yut or tuho, where you throw sticks into a barrel.
Food must definitely not be forgotten.
Hanok Maeul offers winter foods like baked sweet potatoes and scorched rice-tea. You can also make your own rice-cakes.
To visit Hanok Maeul, go to Chungmuro Station, line No. 3 or 4, exit 3. For information visit or call (02) 2266-6923.
The National Museum of Korea in Yongsan, central Seoul is also holding cultural programs, including family movies.
“Noreummachi,” a traditional folk performance group and “Aura,” a gayageum (12-stringed Korean harp) ensemble, are the main performers.
Noreummachi debuted in 1993. They are well-known for coaching the actors in “The King and the Clown” (2005), a historical comedy directed by Lee Jun-ik. The group also stages drum dance performances and even an exorcism.
On Wednesday, the first day of the holiday, Aura will perform a contemporary gayageum ensemble. The three members, graduates of Korea National University of Arts, added Western classical strings to traditional gayageum notes.
You can also visit the museum and draw paintings about the present and future of Korean culture.
From Wednesday to Friday at the Museum’s Grand Hall, family films will air twice a day - Kwon Hyeong-jin’s “For Horowitz” (2006), “Bunt” (2007) and Jang Jin’s “My Son” (2007). Animations include Mamoru Hosoda’s “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time” (2007), “Robot Taekwon V” (1978) and “Flushed Away” (2006).
The museum’s exhibition hall offers a calligraphy-writing program. Anyone who visits the museum from Feb. 2 to 10 can write their own New Year’s resolution in calligraphy.
To reach the National Museum of Korea, go to Ichon Station (line No. 1 or 4, exit 2). For more information call (02) 2077-9224 or visit Unhyeongung Palace, near the Jongno Police Station, also offers cultural programs.

By Lee Eun-joo Contributing Writer []
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