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Fall Events in Gyeongju: Temple Food, Hallyu Dreams, Liquor and Rice Cake, Marathons and more

Gyeongju Liquor and Rice Cake Festival, 2010

Gyeongju Liquor and Rice Cake Festival, 2010

The official start of fall is less than a week away, meaning it’s time again for some of the best weather in Korea and its accompanying  frenzy of festivals.   Here in Gyeongju we can look forward to a few old favorites plus some changes and special events.  First off, both vegetarians and Buddhist culture aficionados will want to check out the first annual Sachal Eumshik (사찰 음식), or Temple Food, Festival out at Deoksungsa Temple (덕숭사) next Saturday, Sept. 24th.   Contrary to popular belief (of many Koreans, in fact) Korea has a rich and delicious tradition of vegetarian cuisine rooted in the country’s numerous Buddhist temples.  Sachal Eumshik can be savored at several restaurants around Gyeongju, like Baru in Seondo-dong or Ssukbujaengi near Bomun.

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Video: Traditional Fireworks at the Andong Mask Dance Festival

This is probably a bit random, but it’s been ages since I’ve posted any videos here.  On the evening of the opening and closing Saturday of the Andong Mask Dance Festival, Hahoe Folk Village hosts a traditional firework performance.  They string ropes from the village, across the river, to the top of the cliff.  The ropes are covered with some sort of sap or dried pine needles and set on fire.  Various performers read poetry and sing songs while sparks are raining down and floating candles drift past on the river.  Meanwhile, actors dressed in traditional garb begin performing a play on a barge in the middle of the river, their shadows cast on the cliff face with a spot light.   Finally, at several points throughout the evening, the audience cheers and flaming hay bales are thrown from the top of the cliff into the river.  The effect of the whole experience is pretty magical.  Unfortunately this last year, the event was dampened a bit by rain and my video camera’s not the greatest.  Even so, I hope this video gives you a taste of how cool the Hahoe Traditional Fireworks actually are.  It’s a little bit of a hassle to get out to Hahoe village, but check ‘em out if you can next Fall when the Mask Dance Festival comes around again.

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Top 10 Events Around Gyeongju in 2011

Daeboreum Full Moon Bonfire Festival 2010

Daeboreum Full Moon Bonfire Festival 2010

It seems like local events have a way of sneaking up on me around here.  I try my best, but I have a way of hearing about them right before, or worse, just after they happen.  As my New Year’s resolution is to get a head of things for a change, here’s a list of my top 10 local events to look forward to during the next year:

1. Daeboreum (대보름) Full Moon Bonfire Festival: Slated this year for Thursday Feb. 17th, Daeboreum celebrates the first full moon after Solnal (설날), or the Lunar New Year.  If it’s anything like years past, the city government will set up a huge bonfire in the parking lot by the river, across from the Express (시위) Bus Terminal.  Around 5:30 or 6:00 pm they’ll light up the bonfire, and while it burns people play “gangang  sulae” (강강수래) folk games and sing songs.  It’s a fun evening out so bring your camera or just come and join in the games. read more »

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Video: Chajeon Nori (차전놀이)- The Juggernaut Game of Andong

To ring in the New Year I thought I’d share some video I shot at last year’s Andong Mask Dance Festival.  On its last Sunday the festival hosts a traditional folk game from Andong called Chajeon Nori (차전놀이) which literally means “Combat Carriage Game.”  It sometimes goes by the more impressive moniker “Juggernaut Battle Game” and it’s one of the cooler things I’ve seen in Korea. read more »

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Fall Festivals and Events

Andong Mask Dance Festival (image from maskdance.com)

Andong Mask Dance Festival (image from maskdance.com)

Every Korean knows that Fall brings the best weather to the peninsula.  It’s not stifling hot nor freezing cold and you aren’t plagued with the pollen and yellow dust brought by Spring.  And thanks to all this great weather, every city and town in Korea has to host some sort of festival.  Most of them are pretty cool, though a few get a little wacky, like the Gangyeong Fermented Seafood Festival. read more »

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