October brings autumn weather to Korea. If you’re visiting, you can expect fairly cold temperatures of around 13 degrees. Nevertheless, the cold weather doesn’t stop the outdoor festivals in Korea and we’ve listed all our favourites of the month right here. There are also two public holidays in October — so be warned. If you’re visiting Korea during this time, many shops and restaurants may be closed.
Jeonju Bibimbap Festival (전주비빔밥축제)
Dates: 9th October 2019 ~ 12th October 2019
Location: (Eng) 95, Seohak-ro, Wansan-gu, Jeonju-si, Jeollabuk-do (Kor) 전라북도 전주시 완산구 서학로 95 (동서학동)
Bibimbap (비빔밥) is one of Korea’s most famous dishes. It’s a fairly simple dish consisting of rice and vegetables all mixed together with Korean spicy sauce and served in a heated stone pot. Jeonju (전주) is known to serve some of the best bibimbap’s in Korea; this is due to their use of over thirty different ingredients, including locally sourced vegetables and high quality nuts. The bibimbap festival aims to celebrate the local delicacy by having many street stalls and various cultural performances. To reach Jeonju from Seoul, you can take the high speed KTX train from Yongsan Station (용산역) to Jeonju Station (전주역). Then from Jeonju Station you can take a local bus to Jeondong Cathedral (Hanok Village) Bus Stop.
Jeongseon Arirang Festival (정선아리랑제)
Dates: 4th October 2019 ~ 7th October 2019
Location: (Eng) 112, Bongyang-ri, Jeongseon-gun, Gangwon-do (Kor) 강원도 정선군 정선읍 봉양리 112 (정선읍)
Arirang is the name given to Korea’s national folk song. It’s thought to be more than 600 years old with the first official document dating the song back to 1756. During the Japanese occupation of Korea from 1910 to 1945, the song was used as a resistance anthem by the Korean people. The song has been used continuously throughout Korean history as a demonstration of the Korean people’s resilience and strength. As a celebration of this song in our fast-paced modern world, a festival celebrating the song and its history is held every year in Gangwon-do (강원도). The festival will consist of many traditional dances and songs, as well as traditional foods and other cultural events. It’s a great chance to experience the deep roots of all that has made Korea that which we know and love today. Jeongseon Arirang festival will also celebrate the different versions of Arirang that have existed in different regions of Korea by performing them all together at the festival. You can reach Jeongseon from Seoul by taking a bus from Dong Seoul Bus Terminal (동서울종합버스터미널) to Jeongseon (정선).
Seoul Street Art Festival (서울거리예술축제)
Dates: 3rd October 2019 ~ 6th October 2019
Location: (Eng) 110, Sejong-daero, Jung-gu, Seoul (Kor) 서울특별시 중구 세종대로 110
Seoul Street Art Festival is held all across Seoul at different locations. Some of the locations include Seoul Plaza, Cheonggye Plaza, Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul Station, Sejong-daero Road and Deoksugung-gil Road. The festival celebrates the art of live street performance. All across Seoul there will be various performances, flea markets and street food stalls.
Korean Folk Art Festival (한국민속예술축제 및 전국청소년민속예술제)
Dates: 2nd October 2019 ~ 4th October 2019
Location: (Eng) 25, Olympic-ro, Songpa-gu, Seoul (Kor) 서울특별시 송파구 올림픽로 25 (잠실동)
The folk art festival aims to preserve Korean culture through traditional art techniques. There will be displays of art along with cultural and musical performances. Each year, a different city hosts the folk art festival, showcasing talents and techniques unique to the area hosting. This year’s festival is conveniently held in Seoul, making it a great festival to see if you’re visiting Korea. You can reach the festival by taking the Seoul Subway Line 2 or 9 to Sports Complex Station (종합운동장역).
Hangeul Day (한글날)
Dates: 9th October 2019
Location: Throughout Korea
Hangeul (한글) is the alphabet used to write the Korean language. It was first invented by King Sejong in the 15th century. Hangeul is revered by the Korean people and is often hailed internationally as one of the most simple and efficient writing systems. During the Japanese occupation of Korea, the Japanese sought to overthrow Korean traditions and cultures — replacing them with their own. During that time, there was a real fear of Hangeul being lost and forgotten. The Korean Language Society (한글학회) was formed with a clear and brave mission; to preserve Hangeul and the Korean language. As part of their mission, they created Hangeul Day (한글날), a yearly celebration of Hangeul. In the present day, Hangeul Day is a public holiday. If you’re visiting Korea you can expect many businesses to be closed or operating different hours, so it’s worth taking note when planning your trip.
National Foundation Day (개천절)
Dates: 3rd October 2019
Location: Throughout Korea
October 3rd celebrates the founding of Korea. According to Korean legend, on October 3rd Hwanung (환웅), the son of the God of heaven, came down to Earth. Upon his descent he met a tiger and a bear. Both creatures asked to be turned into humans by Hwanung. Hwanung told them he would turn them into humans if they stayed in a cave for a hundred days, avoiding sunlight and surviving only on garlic and mugwort. The tiger soon gave up, but the bear lasted, and after 21 days, was transformed into a beautiful woman and was named Ungnyeo (웅녀). Hwanung then turned himself into a human and married Ungnyeo. They had a son named Dangun Wanggeom (단군왕검). Dangun Wanggeom founded Gojoseon (고조선), which is regarded as the first Korean state. The day is now a national holiday in Korea, so if you are visiting be warned that some businesses may be closed or may operate under different hours.
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Featured Image: ©Chris_KIM, 28.07.19, pixabay.com