Thursday, September 27, 2012

Experience traditional or templestay during Chuseok / Hangawi or Korean Thanksgiving

Audience enjoy tea during a traditional music performance at the Seoul Namsan Traditional Theater.

/ Courtesy of the Seoul Namsan Traditional Theater

The Chuseok holidays will begin at the end of this week, with various venues around the country offering cultural and leisure activities side by sides.

The Sejong Center for the Performing Arts in Seoul has a variety of programs during the Chuseok holiday period, which falls between Sept. 29-Oct. 1.

The M Theater at the center will feature the play “Walking into Moonlight” about the generational divide among family members, starting Oct. 1.

On the occasion of Hangeul Day on Oct. 9, a free exhibition on the creation of Korean alphabet is currently underway at the center until Oct. 24.

On Sunday and Monday the Seoul Namsan Traditional Theater will offer free outdoor performances featuring “ganggangsullae,” which is a traditional Korean circle dance, by Chae Hyang Soon Dance Company and traditional percussion music at 3 p.m. The theater, located in Namsangol Hanok Village, is dedicated to traditional Korean music performances. During the holidays, there will be outdoor performances at 3 p.m. from Sept. 30 to Oct. 1, consisting of traditional dance and percussion music.

In addition, the theater has been holding a unique traditional music program every Monday and Tuesday since Sept. 3, recreating the dinner party of the elite class of the Joseon period (1392-1910).

The program takes place not on a stage but at a practice room of the theater, and includes drinks and traditional music. Performers and the audience can communicate during the program. The program will take place on Oct. 1 at 2 p.m. Participation is limited to 20 people. Tickets are 50,000 won and a reservation can be made by calling (02) 2261-0511.

Samcheonggak, a Korean restaurant on Mt. Bugak, is a good place to visit during the Chuseok holidays. The restaurant is famous for its premium lunch concert entitled “Jami,” featuring traditional music and food. Jami means not only “good nutritious food” in Chinese characters but also “fun” in the Jeju dialect.

The concert is designed to give both Koreans and foreigners a chance to appreciate Korean traditional music and performances during lunch time. The 45-minute concert features music and performances by traditional Korean ensemble “Cheongarang.” The lunch course includes “Galbijjim” (braised short ribs), served as the main meal on Mondays while “bulgogi deopbap” (rice topped with grilled marinated beef) is offered on Wednesdays. Those wishing for something more green can opt for “sanchae bibimbap” (mixed wild herbs and s with rice) on Tuesdays. The Chuseok Jami will take place on Oct. 1.
 For more information, call (02) 740-3208 or visit

For those who wish get away from Seoul, the Cultural Corps of Korean Buddhism of Jogye Order, has a Chuseok templestay program at various Buddhist temples around the country.

The templestay program is considered an all-year round program, but the Jogye Order, running many of Korea’s oldest and most prominent Buddhist temples, recently announced a series of special programs at certain temples for Chuseok.

Golgul Temple near Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang Province, Hogbupsa in Busan and Daewon Temple at the eastern foot of Mt. Jirii will operate exclusive Templestay programs for Chuseok this weekend.

Participants will be able to enjoy traditional folk games and take part in making Chuseok food, like songpyeon, or half moon-shaped rice cake.

The registration fee ranges from 50,000 to 100,000 won for a two-day program and from 100,000 to 120,000 won for a three-day program. For more information, visit or call (02) 2031-2000.

Throughout Seoul many museums have prepared various performances and folk games to add family fun to the nearing Chuseok holidays.

The National Museum of Korea presents a traditional music performance with commentary by “gayageum” master Hwang Byung-ki on Sunday. The National Orchestra Company of Korea and the ensemble Sinawi will perform traditional Korean music.

Also on Sunday, the Seoul Museum of History will hold a multicultural market in front of the museum. Artists and social enterprises from diverse countries will exhibit cultural art work and children will be able to make traditional masks.

At the National Folk Museum of Korea guests can enjoy a wide range of holiday events from Saturday to Monday. Notable tightrope performer and intangible cultural asset Kim Dae-hyun will present his special skills and visitors can make “Songpyeon,” half-moon-shaped rice cakes, as well as other craft works from many parts of Korea.

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