City parks offer fun encounters with Chuseok traditions
This weekend, Koreans celebrate Chuseok. The nation’s harvest holiday is a time for Koreans to gather with relatives to share food and give thanks to their ancestors. This year, Chuseok is officially on Monday according to the Lunar calendar, but the holiday is observed for three days from Sept. 11 to 13.
Since many Koreans will hit the road during this time to visit relatives outside of Seoul, the capital will be relatively free of crowds, providing those choosing to remain in the city with a perfect opportunity to unwind.
People will also have a chance to experience traditional Chuseok games and customs through a series of 27 Chuseok-related activities in 16 parks, as announced last week by the Seoul Metropolitan Government.
Just as each park in Seoul has its own characteristics and history, the programs offered at each park will be slightly different as well.
“We have prepared several Chuseok programs at city parks for Seoulites to enjoy,” Choi Kwang-bin, the head of the Seoul Metropolitan Government’s Green Seoul Bureau, said. “The parks will have a lot to offer those who don’t visit their hometown or spend the holiday in Seoul.”
So, if sitting on a couch and watching movies is your only plan during this year’s Chuseok holiday, you might want to consider going out to a park with family or friends instead.
In that spirit, the Korea JoongAng Daily has chosen six parks among the 16 offering holiday programs that just might tempt you out of your house this holiday season.
The park was originally the location of Seoul’s first theme park, Dream Land but financial problems kept the park from succeeding and the Seoul city government announced in 2007 that it would turn it into a green space. Dream Forest was finally unveiled in 2009.
The park offers natural attractions such as Wolyeongji (Moon Reflecting Pond) and Wolgwang Falls (Moonlight Falls), which were designed in the traditional style. There is also a 49.7-meter observatory that offers a view of Bukhan, Dobong and Surak mountains. Dream Forest also has many cultural venues, including Dream Forest Arts Center, Concert Hall and Dream Forest Museum of Art.
On Monday, there are folk games at Changnyeongwigung Ancestral Shrine (Registered Cultural Heritage No. 40) and Cultural Plaza from 2 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. There will also be a concert by a group that plays minyo (folksong) at 5 p.m. at the Dream Forest Arts Center’s outdoor stage.
For more information, call (02) 2289-4001 or visit dreamforest.seoul.go.kr.
Address: Beon-dong 28-6, Gangbuk District
Subway Line 1: Wolgye Station, exit 2, and walk 50 meters or Seogye Station, exit 7, and walk 20 meters
Subway Line 4: Mia Samgeori Station, exit 1, and walk 10 meters
Subway Line 6: Dolgoji Station, exit 3, and walk 30 meters
Subway Line 7: Hagye Station, exit 5, and walk 100 meters
Seoul World Cup Stadium Park
The park is made up of five small parks including Peace Park, Haneul Park, Noeul Park, Nanjicheon Park and Nanji Hangang Park.
An interesting event will be held at Jangseung Plaza in Peace Park during the Chuseok holiday. There will be traditional folk games and a traditional ritual called “dalbit sowon bilgi” (moonlight wishes). As part of the ritual, visitors write their wishes on a piece of paper and hang the paper on a rope, in hopes that their wishes come true.
The origin of the ritual can be traced back to ancient religious practices that centered around the significance of the moon. In ancient times, the sun’s presence was considered routine, but the full moon that came once a month, brightening the night sky, was considered a special and meaningful event. Therefore, people performed the ritual with the hope that they would reap energy and good luck from the power of the moon.
For more information, call (02) 300-5000~2 or visit worldcuppark.seoul.go.kr.
Address: Seongsan-dong, Nanjidogil 45-1, Mapo District
Subway directions: World Cup Stadium Station, line No. 6, exit 1 or 2
Located in the center of Seoul, Mount Namsan has long been a landmark for Seoul residents.
In addition to the range of activities at Namsangol Hanok Village, this year there will be numerous cultural programs at Palgakjung (Octagonal Pavilion).
On Monday at 2 p.m., there will be a tteok (rice cake) making workshop where visitors can try their hand at this traditional Chuseok activity. Two hours later at 4 p.m. there will be a ssireum (Korean wrestling) competition that is open to anyone. The traditional sport is a one-on-one match in which two competitors face each other in the middle of a sand pit. The last wrestler left standing after a series of competitions is considered the winner. In the early evening, performers will play gukak (traditional music) and teach workshops in traditional music instruments like gayageum (12-stringed zither).
On Tuesday, visitors can learn to make tal (masks).
There will be traditional games offered on both days, including neol-ttwigi (seesaw jumping), tuho (arrow toss), jegi-chagi (Korean Hacky Sack), and paengi-chigi (top spinning).
For more information, call (02) 3783-5900.
Address: Hoehyeon-dong 1-ga, Jung District
Subway directions: Myeongdong Station, line No. 4, exit 3, and walk for 10 minutes in the direction of Lila Elementary School
Located near Daehangno, the city’s theater district and a popular place with young people, Naksan Park gets its name from its appearance. In Korean, “nakta” means “camel” and “san” means “mountain.” During the Japanese colonial period, hasty urban planning resulted in the demolition of most of the mountain, leaving it looking like a camel’s hump. Later, in an effort to save the remaining green belts, Naksan was designated a park on June 10, 2002.
The highlight of Naksan’s Chuseok program is a performance and music lessons by gukak (Korean music) group Horanga Nolja. Visitors will learn how to play traditional instruments such as the gayageum (12-stringed zither) and haeguem (fiddle). The performance will be at 5 p.m. on Tuesday. For more information, call (02) 743-7985.
Address: Dongsung-dong 2-10, Jongno District
Subway directions: Go to Hyehwa Station, line No. 4, exit 2, and walk for 10 minutes toward Maronnier Park and IBK.
In the past, kings used Seoul Forest as a royal hunting ground. But in recent years, the area has opened to the public with a variety of attractions. Consisting of five parks - Cultural Art Park, Ecological Forest, Nature Experiencing Study Field, Wetlands Ecological Field and Han River Waterside Park - it spreads over 1,156,498 square meters (286 acres).
Originally, the city tried to turn the area into a residential zone, but it was later opened as a park on June 18, 2005.
It has a golf course, a horse racing track and lots of sports facilities. There is also an insect botanical garden with 2,233 trees of 200 species, 297 insects of 106 species, and 12,472 plants of 81 species.
Starting on Monday at 1 p.m., kids who wear hanbok (traditional Korean costume) will be given a beetle larvae and offered the opportunity to learn how to raise it. The event is first come first served at Butterfly Garden and only 100 beetle larvae will be given out.
During the Chuseok holiday, Seoul Forest will also organize folk games including yutnori, a traditional board game using four wooden sticks.
For more information, call (02) 460-2901.
Address: Seongsu 1-ga dong 685, Seongdong District
Subway directions: Get off at Ttukseom station (line No.2) and then get out from exit 8, take 10 minutes walk from there
Children’s Grand Park
Children’s Grand Park has been a great leisure place for families since it opened in 1973 on Children’s Day, May 5. The park has loads of attractions, including a zoo, botanical garden, amusement facilities, outdoor stages and sports facilities.
A samulnori percussion quartet will play from 3 to 5 p.m. on Monday and there will also be a gilnori parade, during which musicians wish the audience good luck.
There will also be folk games from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday to Tuesday, including neol-ttwigi (seesaw jumping), tuho (arrow toss), jegi-chagi (Korean Hacky Sack), and paengi-chigi (top spinning).
If you miss the performance, there will be another on Sept. 18 with folk group Gyeongseodo Changakhoi. The group will play traditional music such as gayageum and pansori (narrative singing) and present a fan dance and gut (shamanic ritual).
For more information, call (02) 450-9311 or visit www.childrenpark.or.kr.
Address: Neung-dong 18, Gwangjin District
Subway directions: Children’s Park Station, line No. 7, exit 1
By Joo Kyung-don [email@example.com]
한글 관련 기사 [중앙일보]
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