Tag Archives: festivals

Andong Mask Dance Festival

Festival season in Korea is in full swing, and this weekend I went back to my old hometown, Andong, for their annual Mask Dance Festival.

The Mask Dance Festival is one of the biggest festivals in Korea. Mainly because there is so much culture and heritage centered around the Andong area.  One of the most famous landmarks being Hahoe village, a tradition village from the Joseon Dynasty period (16th century), which still maintains more traditional ways of life. It also happens to be a UNESCO listed heritage site AND was visited by the one and only Queen Elizabeth – something Andong-ers are very proud of!

There is always so much to do at festivals, and the Andong festival is no different. You can make masks, pop balloons, shoot paint ball guns, dance, eat, drink and, of course, watch the professionals do their thing!

This year I was very happy that I got to see my friend Dana’s 80 year old grandfather do a dance, which he has been rehearsing since I was in Andong in August!





I also got to see the famous Hahoe dance, listed as ‘Intangible Cultural Property Nr. 49’. Or was it 69?








There are also some international dance performances each year. This year dancers from 6 different countries came to show off their skills.

I also got to do non- festival things such as decorate a cake for my friend Dana’s granny’s birthday. Dana and I were also little piggies and managed to eat pretty much a whole plate of Jjimdak. It is so huge, but so delicious. Spicy and sweet.  Glass noodles, potatoes, carrots and chicken all boiled together to soak up the flavours. I would say that the only down side to this dish is that it is so incredibly good that you just can’t stop eating it. Also they put the chicken neck in there too, so be careful. The table next to us were perplexed why they had two necks in their dish, watch out!

That's a big plate of jjimdak!

If you ever get to eat this Andong delicacy please beware that the sauce is known to fly off the noodles as you slurp them up with the aid of 2 metal sticks. It has ruined many a white t-shirt.

Everytime I go back to Andong I find myself saying as I’m leaving, ‘Ok, I’ll have to come back one more time before I leave Korea.’ So hear is going back to Andong again before February!

As with that I’ll leave you with a few more pictures from the weekend. Enjoy.

Kate x

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Jinju Lantern Festival

This past weekend was a long weekend thanks to the 3 October public holiday called National Foundation Day, or in Korean, Gaecheonjeol. It is the day when Koreans celebrate the mythological origins of Korea.

Anyway, what it really meant to me was a 3 day weekend! So I decided to head south to Jinju city to see the opening of the Lantern Festival.

Jinju is built on the banks of the Namgang River, the perfect place for floating hundreds of enormous lanterns. And with the Jinjuseong Fortress with a backdrop, you certainly can’t ask for too much more. Well, maybe fewer people would’ve been nice!

The festival seems to be enormously popular, and it only started to annoy me when everyone gathered to watch the official turning-on-of-the-lights and the accompanying firework show. The crowds on the river banks were thick, and in true Korean fashion, pushy. But all annoyances were forgotten when the river was illuminated and the sky was filled with the sound of exploding lights. The Koreans sure know their stuff when it comes to lights!


One of the fun things about festivals is the huge variety of foods available. My favourite is the promise of pajeon and makoli. It feels like real festival food to me! They also have a wide variety of fried goods on sticks – potato, hot dogs, processed meat slabs, corn dogs. The typical chicken nuggets and chicken skewers. Corn. Bondaegi a.k.a. boiled silkworm pupa. Candy floss. And I’m sure I saw sea snails boiling next to the bondaegi?

It was also fun bumping into this guy:

Jinju's very own Dancing Queen. A real crowd pleaser!







It really was a great festival with so much to see and do and eat and drink. And I am glad that I braved the crowds, paid the highly inflated price for a place to sleep and took the bus down to Jinju to experience this festival. If you want more information take a look at their website.





Kate x


Autumn in Korea

My favourite season is upon us here on the Korean peninsular. The evenings are cool, the days are sunny and warm. The festivals have started in full force. The trees are putting on a show of red, yellow, brown and orange. Classrooms aren’t stuffed full of sweaty smelling boys. Scarves and hats and chunky knitted jumpers are donned as we make the (hopefully) slow start into winter.

It’s October already. Autumn is here. When did that happen?

While we are on the subject of seasons it must be noted how proud Korean people are of their 4 seasons. They will curiously ask ‘Are there 4 seasons in your country?’ And don’t seem too convinced when you tell them that yes there are, but that the seasons aren’t so extreme. We do get spring flowers. It does get cold in winter, we even have snow. Imagine that!

With that being said I must admit that the seasons here in Korea are, compared to what I know, very admirable.

Mt Sorak ablaze with colour

Especially autumn. Seeing the mountains, which make up 70% of Korea, ablaze with colour  is amazingly beautiful.

Finally we can actually go outdoors without getting our clothes soaked, either by our own sweat or the torrential downpours. Which means only one thing: FESTIVALS!

The autumn season is over run with festivals. This weekend it was the Lantern Festival in Jinju (more about that soon), next weekend it’s the Mask Dance festival in Andong, the International Film Festival in Busan, Global Gathering in Seoul. Next it’ll be the Fireworks in Busan… you get my point. And those are only naming a few of them! (See all of them here). There is a festival for everything and for anyone. It’s fantastically great.

So with that: welcome autumn. It’s going to be a busy one!