Yeongcheon at the center of cultural events in Oct.

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Yeongcheon at the center of cultural events in Oct.

If you thought this month was particularly full of cultural events, you were right.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism since 1972 has designated October as the Month of Culture, encouraging local governments to hold various cultural events and seek synergy with each other.

This effort is partly to spur domestic consumption and partly to help Koreans enrich their lives through culture.

Since 2003, the government has been highlighting one specific city each October to foster appreciation of regional culture. This month’s spotlight goes to Yeongcheon, North Gyeongsang.

For three days starting today, Yeongcheon will be offering a wealth of cultural activities across the city.

One interesting activity is the reenactment of the Joseon Tongsinsa, in which about 2,000 Yeongcheon citizens and visitors are expected to take part. The Joseon Tongsinsa were the goodwill envoys Korea sent to Japan for about 200 years between the 17th and 19th centuries. They often marched upon leaving the country, as well as upon arriving in Japan.

The group consisted of 400 to 500 people, and since they traveled across the sea and over land, the journey took between 10 and 12 months. Their goal was to promote Korean culture in Japan and build bilateral trust, which is why some people say they were the origins of Hallyu, or the popularity of Korean culture abroad.

There will also be art exhibitions and concerts as well as conferences. One of the art exhibitions, titled “Sky-Run,” introduces pieces by seven artists who took part in a residency program at the Yeongcheon Art Studio under the themes of Yeongcheon and horses. The horse business - including horse racing and horseback riding - is something in which Yeongcheon has been investing a lot in recent years.

The Korea Racing Association, which manages horse racing in Korea and operates racetrack parks, plans to open a fourth Let’s Run Park in Yeongcheon in 2018. The parks include horse-themed attractions like horseback riding and a horse culture museum.

While the spotlight is on Yeongcheon this month, an array of cultural festivities are either underway or set to kick off this month across the country. They include the Daegu International Opera Festival (Oct. 8 to Nov. 7), the Gwangju Design Biennale (Oct. 15 to Nov. 13) and the Seoul Performing Arts Festival (Oct. 2-31).


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