Korean festivals uncovered

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Out of more than a thousand cultural festivals celebrated in Korea, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has selected its top 44 cultural events for 2010 based on the event's popularity, organisation/management, uniqueness and development potential.

At the top of the list are the Boryeong Mud Festival and the Andong International Maskdance Festival. In addition to these two signature events, the festivals are divided into the following categories: eight 'Best Festivals', 10 'Second Best Festivals' and 24 'Up and Coming Festivals'. Top two festivals in KoreaBoryeong Mud FestivalBoryeong mud is rich in minerals and great for the skin. The high–quality sea mud is even used to make cosmetic products such as mudpacks, mud soaps, and more. Although the festival includes a diverse programme of events, by far the most well–known part of the festivities is an area where visitors can give themselves mud baths or receive a mud massage using quality mud from the Daecheon beach and surrounding tidal flats. Other featured attractions are a giant mud tub, mud wrestling, mud sliding, a mud prison, and mud military training. This exciting summer festival is a crowd favourite. Date: July 17, 2010 – July 25, 2010 Venue: Chungcheongnam–do Boryeong–si Daecheon Beach and downtown areaAndong International Maskdance FestivalAndong is home to the most significant number of tangible and intangible cultural assets in Korea. The Andong International Maskdance Festival aims to promote its tradition and culture through various programmes and lesser–known mask dance performances including Chajeonnori (a battle game) by male players and Notdaribapgi (a 'human bridge' presentation) by female players. Date: September 24, 2010 – October 3, 2010Venue: Gyeongsangbuk–do Andong–si Hahoe Village, Talchum (탈춤, Mask Dance) Park and downtown area The best of the restHwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival The Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival is a unique wintertime celebration that draws over 1m visitors every year. To promote it as the nation's largest and most popular winter festival, organisers plan a variety of programmes and fun activities. The most popular programmes are ice fishing in the clean waters of the Bukhangang River, ice football played on the thick ice of the frozen river, and ice sledding. Date: January 9, 2010 – January 31, 2010Venue: Gangwon–do Hwacheon–gun Hwacheon–eup and 5 villages near Hwacheon Festival Category : Best FestivalsJindo Sea–parting Festival The Jindo Sea–parting is a naturally occurring phenomenon that is reminiscent of Moses' supernatural parting of the Red Sea. Korea's world–famous magical 'parting of the sea' reveals a 40–meter–wide path that stretches for 2. 8 kilometers between Gogun–myeon Hoedong–ri and Uisin–myeon Modo–ri in Jeollanam–do. The Jindo Sea Parting Festival is held when the tide differences are at their highest peak, leaving a wide path that provides visitors with a natural stage on which to enjoy the festival's great selection of events. The festival is gaining increasing recognition overseas, with visitors flocking to the quiet town of Jindo–gun every year during the festival period. Date: March 30, 2010 – April 1, 2010 Venue: Jeollanam–do Jindo–gun Uisin–myeon Modori to Gogun–myeon Hoedong–riFestival Cateogry: Second–Best FestivalNamwon Chunhyang Festival This traditional folk festival is based on the fidelity and love of Chunhyang, who is the protagonist of Korea's most famous love story 'Chunhyangjeon'. A rich programme of events and programmes depict the time–tested story of Chunhyang, in the town where the two lovers lived. Date: April 23, 2010 – April 26, 2010Venue: Jeollabuk–do Namwon–si Gwanghalluwon Garden, riverside of Yocheon stream, the plaza of Love, and Namwon tourist attractionsFestival Category: Second–Best Festival Hampyeong Butterfly Festival The luscious green pastures and stunning canola flowers of Hampyeong make the famous Hampyeong Butterfly Festival an irresistible gathering place for visitors and butterflies alike. Every spring, tens of thousands of butterflies flutter among the bright yellow canola flowers, creating an almost surreal atmosphere for this interesting and educational festival. Date: April 23, 2010 – May 9, 2010Venue: Jeollanam–do Hamgpyeong–gun Hampyeong Expo ParkFestival Cateogry: Best Festival Mungyeong Traditional Tea Bowl Festival The Mungyeong Traditional Tea Bowl Festival is an opportunity to gain a deeper appreciation of the unassuming beauty of the Korean tea bowl, or 'chatsabal' in Korean. The festival takes place in Mungyeong Saejaegol, a town famous for its pottery. Masters of the chatsabal demonstrate how to make the traditional tea bowls and facilitate hands–on experience programmes. Date: April 30, 2010 – May 9, 2010Venue: Gyeongsangbuk–do Mungyeong Saejae area (KBS filming location, Ceramics Museum Plaza)Festival Category: Second–Best Festival Hadong Wild Tea Cultural Festival Hadong, nestled between Mt Jirisan and the southern coast, is most breathtaking during the Hadong Wild Tea Cultural Festival. The Hadong Wild Tea Cultural Festival is held annually at the peak of the green tea season, showcasing a variety of programmes including picking green tea leaves by hand, experiencing a traditional tea ceremony and making traditional tea bowls. Date: May 1, 2010 – May 5, 2010Venue: Gyeongsangnam–do Hadong–gun Hwagae–myeon Tea fields in Ssanggyesa Temple and Jingyo–myeon Byeongnyeon–ri Chatsabal Doyoji areaFestival Category: Best Festival Chuncheon International Mime Festival The Chuncheon International Mime Festival is the leading performing arts festival in Korea, and its fame has now spread across the globe. Each year, renowned artists from home and abroad give outstanding live performances. On the weekends of the festival period, performances are held practically non–stop. Date: May 23, 2010–May 30, 2010Venue: Gangwon–do Chuncheon–si Mime House, Chuncheon Culture & Arts Center, Bomnae Theatre and Festival Theater M (Gongjicheon and Children's Hall area)Festival Category: Best FestivalMuju Firefly Festival In Korea, fireflies are only indigenous to the Namdaecheon Stream in Muju. The Muju Firefly Festival is an eco–friendly event that not only celebrates these fascinating creatures, but also the area's natural environment and folklore. Visitors can enjoy a programme of firefly–themed events as well as learn more about the important connection between nature and the agricultural way of life in this beautiful mountain area. Date: June 12, 2010 – June 20, 2010Venue: Jeollabuk–do Muju–gun Muju–eup Hanpungno, Namdaecheon, Bandiland areaFestival Category: Second–Best Festival Gangjin Celadon Festival The area in and around Gangjin was a central production site of blue celadon. The area had the advantages of being easily accessible by sea, having optimal clay sources, natural fuel sources, good water and a pleasant climate. The Gangjin Celadon Festival showcases the excellence and uniqueness of Goryeo celadon with a special festival programme that sets it apart from the rest. No wonder it is gaining recognition as a popular tourist destination. Date: August 7, 2010 – August 15, 2010Venue: Jeollanam–do Gangjin–gun Daegu–myeon Goryeo Celadon Doyoji areaFestival Category: Best FestivalYeoncheon Jeongok–ri Paleolithic Festival The Yeoncheon Jeongok–ri Paleolithic Festival is held at a site which holds ruins that Date back to the Paleolithic Era. This family–oriented festival provides visitors with a fun way to learn more about human history through a range of programmes including historical experience programmes, and educational and entertainment events. The Yeoncheon Jeongok–ri Paleolithic Festival has been voted a 'most preferred festival' by those visiting with family. Date: August 11, 2010 – August 15, 2010 Venue: Gyeonggi–do Yeoncheon–gun Jeongok–eup Jeongok–ri Paleolithic SiteFestival Category: Second–Best Festival Nangye Traditional Korean Music Festival The Nangye Traditional Korean Music Festival is a major event for exhibitions and hands–on activities related to the Korean traditional music of Gugak. Programmes related to gugak include the Nation–wide Gugak (Traditional Music) Contest and the Gugak Seminar as well as performances by the famed Nagye Gugak Orchestra as well as performances by some of the country's most renowned Gugak Musicians. Date: September 3, 2010–September 7, 2010Venue: Chungcheongbuk–do Yeongdong–gun Yeongdong–eup areaFestival Category: Second–Best Festival Geumsan Insam Festival Korean ginseng (or Insam) is known around the world for its remarkable medicinal powers. Geumsan is one of the most famous areas for cultivating ginseng, which has a traditional ginseng market, a ginseng–related medicinal market, and an international trade market for ginseng. Visitors of the Geumsan Insam Festival can experience the medicinal effects of ginseng in various forms, including the rare experience of handpicking these powerful plants. Date: September 3, 2010 – September 12, 2010Venue: Chungcheongnam–do Geumsan–gun Geumsan–eup Ginseng Expo Square and Ginseng and Herb Street areaFestival Cateogry: Best Festival Yangyang Songyi Festival It is not usually easy to have access to wild pine mushroom growing in Yangyang–gun, Gangwon–do as it is normally a restricted area. The Yangyang Songyi Festival is a prime opportunity to observe and experience picking the pine mushrooms in the beautiful wilderness surrounding Seoraksan Mountain. Date: September 24, 2010–September 28, 2010Venue: Gangwon–do Yangyang–gun Namdaecheon stream and Songyi Mushiroom fieldsFestival Category: Second–Best Festival Jinju Namgang Yudeung Festival Jinju Namgang Lantern Festival features an extravagant parade of lanterns filling the river with colorful lights that create a spectacular view, over the Namgang Waterfronts, across from Jinjuseong Fortress and Chokseongnu Pavilion. The speechless beauty of this scene is the highlight of this festival and is renowned across the country. Date: October 1, 2010 – October 12, 2010Venue: Gyeongsangnam–do Jinju–si Chiram–dong Namgang Riverside areaFestival Category: Best Festival Cheonan Heungtaryeong Dance Festival The Heungtaryeong Dance Festival is a major festival of the city of Cheonan, which is easily accessible from Seoul by train, bus, or subway. It is the nation's only major dance contest and includes a beautiful display of dance, vocal performances, and costumes. Consisting mainly of performances by local and international amateur dancers and professional troupes, the festival is open to the general public. In addition to dance, the festival offers parades, folk games, a Korean traditional wedding experience for international visitors, and various other programmes. Date: October 5, 2010 – October 10, 2010Venue: Chungcheongnam–do Cheonan–si Cheonan Samgeori Park, Cheonan Museum and Arario Plaza Festival Category: Second–Best Festival Gimje Horizon Festival The Gimje Horizon Festival began with the purpose of promoting the rice grown in the fields of Gimje and the area's fabulous scenery. Visitors can get a hands–on experience of the traditional farming culture and take in the beauty of the field bathed in the light of the autumn sunset. Date: October 13, 2010 – October 17, 2010Venue: Jeollabuk–do Gimje–si Buryang–myeon Byeokgolje areaFestival Category: Best FestivalIcheon Rice Cultural Festival Since ancient times, Icheon's expansive open fields have offered the perfect conditions for growing rice. As such, it has long been one of the major rice producers in Korea and continues to produce the highest–quality rice. The Icheon Rice Cultural Festival combining two of Icheon's symbols, rice and agriculture, is held in late October to celebrate the abundance of the harvest. Date: October 21, 2010 – October 24, 2010 Venue: Gyeonggi–do Icheon–si Seolbong Park Festival Category: Second–Best Festival Ganggyeong Fermented Seafood Festival This festival is held in Ganggyeong, Korea's leading salted seafood production centre, where more than half of the salted seafood distributed in Korea is made. Look around the unique marketplace of salted seafood where people come from different parts of Korea to get their salted seafood at prices 30–40% cheaper than most other parts of the country, all round the year. Date: October 20, 2010 – October 24, 2010Venue: Chungcheongnam–do Nonsan–si Ganggyeong–eup Ganggyeongpogu Port, Fermented Seafood Market and Fermented Seafood Exhibition HallFestival Category: Second–Best Festival

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