Thanks to the Korean wave that has been sweeping off the globe, travelling industry in Korean has also blossomed exponentially. However, travel to Korea is no longer restricted to just paying visit at picturesque tourist spots. Travellers these days opt to experience cultural immersion through participating in the local’s traditional events and celebrations. There are plenty of celebrations happening in different provinces in Korea annually which are full of entertainment and cultural values. Long story short, here are 9 featured events that you can mark down on your calendar for your next trip to Korea.
1.Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival
Also known as the grand winter event, Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival has been crowned as one of the 7 wonders of winter by CNN. During winter, traveller from across the country floods the venue to enjoy winter activities there. There are 12,000 ice fishing holes being prepared by the organizer to accommodate ice fishing activities and thanks to the crystal clear water beneath the ice, visitors are able to see the fishes swimming freely in the lake and streams. The main highlight of the event is the barehanded masu salmon fishing competition. In this competition, participants are only allowed to wear short sleeved shirt and shorts in attempt to catch masu salmon barehanded under the chilly weather. Do note that in all of the fishing activities, participants are only limited to 3 catch per person. Visitors are also allowed to grill the salmon on the spot.
Festive period: January until beginning of February. (Date are subjected to change, please refer to official unit for confirmation)
Activities available: Ice Fishing, Sled-riding, Ice Soccer, Indoor Ice Sculpture Square, Barehanded Masu Salmon Fishing.
2.Jeju Fire Festival
Once awarded as “Most Valuable Festive in Jeju island”, The Jeju Wildfire Festival held in the early March is undoubtedly one of the most celebrated and worthwhile celebrations in Korea. Wildfire festive is a praying activity in hope for good health and bountiful crop harvest in the following year. The highlight of the festival is none other than the burning of 300,000 square feet of open field at Sabyeol Oreum hill. Before the burning ceremony, the locals will attach their wishes onto the haystack and the burning signifies their wishes being granted.
Festive period: March
Activities available: Opening Ceremony and Torch Ignition, Wildfire Music Concert, Haystack Making Contest, Torch Parade, Jeju Traditional Food Experience, Wildfire Kite Flying and more
3.Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival
Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival is a hard to miss festival in Korean. Being one of the most important spring festivals in Korea, the festive attract over 2 million tourists all across the world annually. The most popular activities are strolling down the cherry blossom-lined streets of Jinhae at Jungwon Rotary and Gyeonghwa Station. There features a 1.5km long walkway for the best cherry blossom viewing experience. However, Gweonghwa station only operates during the festive season which added a unique charm to the overall scenery.
Festive period: March-April
Activities available: Jungon Rotary and Gweonghwa Station, Visitation to the Navy Officers and School Headquarters and the Naval Base, Jinhae Naval International Music Festival.
4.Gwangju World Culture Kimchi Festival
Mark down your calendar, all Kimchi lovers out there! This festival hosts a series of interesting events at the only Kimchi themed park in Korea. The activities include Kimchi Making Competition, Kimchi Making Classes, Kimchi History Exhibition, Kimchi Popularity Competition, Kimchi Market and more.
Festive period: May until December
Available activities: Culinary Experience, Kimchi History Exhibition, Kimchi Popularity Competition, Kimchi Market, Art and Cultural Performance.
World Grandest EDM music festival has also set its foot in Korea. Every year June, renowned DJ(s), music producer and musician gathers at Seoul to put up the most exhilarating performance perform for the audience. Ultra Festival is famous for it’s out of this world stage setup and the most edgy stage effects. Aside from that, their previous star studded line up that consist of EDM scene big name such as David Guetta, Snoop Dogg, MIA, Skrillex are the reason why it is an sold out event.
Festive period: June
6.Boryeong Mud Festival
You have to put Boryeong Mud Festival on your list if you are looking for the most trending festival in Korea right now. Sought after for its cosmetic value, these mud bath located at the south beach of Boryeong is the biggest highlight of the festival. Visitor gets to enjoy the best of a natural mud bath and also sea bathing at the same time! Of course that is not the end of it, there are also Mud Experiencing Museum, Mud Hot Spring, Water Sliding Mud Tunnel, and also various stage or street performances to ensure visitor enjoys their stay.
Festive period: July
Available activities: Mud Game Experience, Water Sliding Mud Tunnel, Hip Hop/Rap Party, EDM Festival, Open Performance at Fountain Square, Craft and Local Specialty Exhibition.
7.Jinju Lantern Festival
Jinju lantern Festival is one of the iconic autumn festival that guarantees visitor a sensational visual experience from the celebration. The festival originated from the lantern lighting custom used during the Jinjuseong Fortress Battle of the Imjinwaeran War(Japanese invasion, 1592) as a military strategy to prevent Japanese troops from wading the Namgang River. Todays, the tradition is carried out to commemorate the soul of martyrdom. These lanterns are exceptionally breath-taking to be viewed with the backdrop of the Namgang River.
Festive period: October
Available activities: Lighting ceremony, floating lanterns on the river, Korean lantern exhibition, World traditional lantern exhibition, traditional crafted lantern exhibition, hanging wish-lantern.
8.Busan Fireworks Festival
Taking place at Gwangandaego in Busan, this festival offer diverse programs of cultural events, high-tech laser light shows, and myriad of unique and colourful fireworks making this one of the area’s most popular festivals, drawing crowds of over 1 million visitors each year. It is so popular that some visitor went to the beach early in the morning just to get the best view of the magnificent fireworks display.
Festive period: October
Available activities: Firework display, Mime, Magic Performance, Bubble Art Performance.
9.Seongsan Sunrise Festival
If you are travelling to Jeju Island during New Year period, this is one festival that you wouldn’t want to miss out. Seongsan Sunrise is arguably the best spot to view sunrise in the world. This festival is meant to praise the God given scenery and also serves as a ceremony that signifies a fresh start for a new year. This will serve as a best memory in life as you can start the year with full of positive vibe.
Festive period: December until January
Activities available: Sunrise Ceremony, Regional Cultural Associations and Grass Carp Performances, Sunrise Wishing, Sharing Rice Cake Soup (Free), Making Tangerine Treats, Luminous Face Paintings and more.