Korean Festival Showcase

September 4, 2010 by  
Filed under Attractions, Culture, Uniquely Far East

The Land of Ginseng is one that thoroughly understands the importance of preserving its rich history and culture. As such, numerous festivals are held throughout Korea each year to showcase the beauty of the country and to foster an understanding of its rich history and culture. Some of these festivals have become tourists attractions on their own, and are definitely worth planning your trip around.

Korea Mud Festival

Photo credit - Stinki Pinkie Infinity

Boryeong Mud Festival

July, at the Daecheon Beach – www.mudfestival.or.kr
During the festival period, tourists from all over the world flock to Daecheon Beach to experience a unique festival showcasing the beneficial properties of the Boryeong mud. Visitors can partake in numerous activities such as mud wrestling, mud sliding, swimming in a mud mega tub and generally have loads of fun! In the evening, the party carries on towards the beach, with music and fireworks making this a delightful, family-friendly event.

Korean Ginseng

Photo credit - Zionorbi

Ginseng Festival

September, at the Goumsan County – www.geumsan.go.kr
The Ginseng Festival, locally known as the Geumsan Insam Festival, is the leading festival of Geumsan County, which is located in the Chuncheongnam-do province. The county is the largest producer of ginseng in Korea, and as such, a festival is held there to promote the beneficial effects of Geumsan ginseng. There are various exhibits on everything related to ginseng, as well as traditional folk performances, singing and dance contests. There is also a special fair for international ginseng trade and various programs for international tourists.

Muju Mountaineous Area

Photo credit - WStay

Muju Firefly Festival

June, at the Namdaecheon Stream – www.firefly.or.kr
The Muju Firefly Festival is an eco-friendly event that celebrates these fascinating creatures, held in the beautiful mountainous area of Muju. In Korea, the firefly are indigenous only to the Namdaecheon Stream in Muju. They are prominent not only to the area’s natural environment, but also in the traditional folklore of the surrounding area. All these are celebrated in the festival, with various firefly-themed events that also educates visitors on the important connection between man and nature.

Photo credit - Waegook

Hyoseok Culture Festival

September, at the Bongpyeong Culture Village
The Hyoseok Culture Festival is a unique festival combining literature with tourism, held to celebrate Bongpyeong – the birthplace of Lee Hyo-Seok, a leading korean novelist. The Festivals focuses on one of Hyo-Seok’s most famous short story When the Buckwheat Blossoms, which took place in the backdrop of Bongpyeong, and offers various excursions to places mentioned in the story. Although international visitors may not be able to fully enjoy the historical and cultural significance of the festival, it is still worth a visit, if only to enjoy the natural beauty of Bongpyeong.

Photo credit - WStay

Gwacheon Hanmadang Festival

September to October, at Gwacheon City – www.gcfest.co.kr
Held every fall at Gwacheon City, the Gwacheon Hanmadang Festival is a celebration of the unique spirit of street art culture. Hanmadang literally means “a place where everybody can gather together”, and the festival extols exactly that, with a large selection of performances held in public spaces like major road-side street, open-air stages and more. There is a wide range of performances for everybody to enjoy, from street theater, Madang playes, circus acts, street dance and much more.

Jinju Namgang Lantern Festival

October, at Namgang Riverside Area – www.yudeung.com
This is an extravagant parade of colorful lanterns filling out the river over the Namgang Waterfronts, acros from Jinjuseong Fortress and Chokseongnu Pavillion. The festival originated from the Jinjuseong battles in the worst suffering period of the Japanese invasion, and has evolved through time to become the current iteration of the Lantern Festival. The spectacular view of the floating lantern parade, as well as the magical fireworks makes this festival a must-see attraction renowned across the country.

Photo credit - jlfacine

Andong Mask Dance Festival

late September, at Hahoe – www.maskdance.com
The Andong Mask Dance Festival is the biggest event at Hahoe, usually held around late September to early October. The festival showcases various Korean and international dance troupes paying homage to local folklore, which centered on these mask dance performances to appease restless spirits around the area. Now, the event has grown to become a showcase not only for traditional Korean mask dance, but also for various traditional dances from countries around the world.

If you are planning a visit to Asia, don’t forget to check out Unearthing Asia, the best Asia travel portal focusing on Lifestyle, Culture and Attractions all over Asia. We have got some of the best travel ideas and inspirations in the region of Asia, (especially for those going places!) such as this list of must-try Malaysian foods.

Mysore Dasara

December 15, 2009 by  
Filed under Culture, Mythical Himalayas

Mysore Dasara is a popular event in Karnataka State, South India, a world famous festival lasting all through 10 days. The city of Mysore will look at its best during the festival, with all the major roads in the city, heritage buildings, palaces, historical monuments, ancient temples and shops illuminated. Here the Dasara is an elaborate affair and attract a large audience including both local and foreign tourists.

Photo credits - antkriz

Photo credits - antkriz

Photo credits - kkalyan

Photo credits - kkalyan

According to the legends, Dasara is celebrated as a victory of Goddess Chamundeswari over the demon Mahishasura. The 10th day of the festival – the most auspicious day of the Dasara – is Vijayadashami, which is symbolically celebrated as the victory of good over evil. This final event of the festival usually falls in the month of September or October.

This historical festival started during the period of Vijayanagar Kingdom in 15th century. Later, the Mysore Wodeyars carried over the tradition of Vijayanagara rulers. After the fall of Tipu Sulthan, the Wodeyars shifted to Mysore and continued the tradition. The Dasara festivities are held at the Mysore Palace, Jaganmohan Palace, Kalamandira and the Town hall. Renowned artists in classical music, dance and folk perform during this festival. Apart from cultural events, sports and wrestling events are also there to entertain the viewers. However, the main attractions of Dasara are the colourful procession of Goddess Chamundeshwari on the decorated royal elephant, torchlight parade and the exotic fireworks at Bannimantap and exhibition.

Photo credits - Distra

Photo credits - Distra

Photo credits - kkalyan

Photo credits - kkalyan

Dasara (Navaratri) starts on the first day of Ashwija month, and it ends with the world famous Jambu Savari on the last day. Colourful tableaux, folk dancers, music bands, decorated elephants, horses and camels form a part of the procession. Dolls are also arranged in the houses in an artistic way, and illuminated.

On Vijayadashami, the traditional Dasara procession is held on the streets of Mysore city. The main attraction of this procession is the idol of the Goddess Chamundeshwari which is placed on a golden mantapa on the top of a decorated elephant. Colourful tableaux, dance groups, music bands, decorated elephants, horses and camels form a part of the procession which starts from the Mysore Palace and culminates at a place called Bannimantap where the banni tree is worshipped. The Dasara festivities would culminate on the night of Vijayadashami with an event held in the grounds at Bannimantap called as Panjina Kavayatthu (torch-light parade).

Another major attraction during the festival is the Dasara exhibition which is held in the exhibition grounds opposite to the Mysore Palace. This exhibition starts during Dasara and goes on till December. Various stalls which sell items like clothes, plastic items, kitchenware, cosmetics and eatables are set up and they attract a significant number of people. A play area containing attractions like Ferris wheel is also present to provide entertainment to the people. Various Governmental agencies setup stalls to signify the achievements and projects that they have undertaken.

About the Author. Lakshmi Menon. Lakshmi Menon writes articles on various topics, including South India tourism. Please visit her website for more information on her background expertise and services.

6 Uniquely Indonesian Festivals

Indonesia is often referred to as the sleeping giant of Southeast Asia, and rightly so. With more than 18,000 islands in its archipelago, there is an amazing diversity of what to see and do while on holiday here.

Modernization has seen development (some would say over-development) wash over Jakarta, while Bali’s tourism continues to enjoy a gradual revival after the horrible 2002 bombing. There is also the mountains of Bromo and the mythical Borobudur for those looking for an off-the-beaten path attractions, as well as more than 6,000 inhabited islands.

Not surprisingly, Indonesia boasts various festivals that are unique to their culture, reflecting the assorted races and traditions in different parts of the archipelago. You’ll find this diversity in the following list of 6 Uniquely Indonesian Festivals, ranging from celebrations of art, batik, to dances and ceremonies. If possible, you’ll do well to catch any one of these festivals during your visit to Indonesia!

Tuping Karnaval and Mount Krakatau. Photo credit - canonian_eos and flydime.

Tuping Karnaval and Mount Krakatau. Photo credit - canonian_eos and flydime.

Krakatoa Festival

An annual festival held in Lampung, the Krakatoa Festival is held to celebrate the volcanic island by the same name, Krakatoa. This famed volcano erupted violently as far back as 1927, some of which has resulted in newer smaller islands, named Anak Krakatoa (Child of Krakatoa).

During the festival, one can enjoy various performances such as the Tuping Karnaval (Lampung Mask Carnival), elephant procession as well as assorted dance performances from Lampung and its surrounding townships. The finale of the event is a trip to the volcanic island itself, still active but sleeping dormant for the time being!

Bali Art Festival. Photo credit - saylow's and simon.monk.

Bali Art Festival. Photo credit - saylow's and simon.monk.

Bali Art Festival

One of the largest annual celebration of art and culture in Indonesia, the Bali Art Festival is always, always crowded. It is a full month of daily performances, arts exhibitions and other related cultural activities during which the whole of Bali comes along to present its offering of dance, music and beauty.

This famed celebration offers various performances such as forgotten village dances, trances from remote parts of Bali, food, offerings and handicrafts, as well as new creations from Denpasar’s dance schools and contemporary choreography from national and international artists.

Solo Batik Festival. Photo credit - sarasha and Aming Sutanto.

Solo Batik Festival. Photo credit - sarasha and Aming Sutanto.

Solo Batik Carnival

From a long time ago, the tradition of Batik has always had very strong roots in Solo. This central Java town has even taken Batik as its icon and identity, an apt portrayal of a town known for its royal beauty and calm demeanor. The Solo Batik Carnival was held to reinforce this tradition, and further promote Batik in international and national scale.

The event is a combination of ceremonies, fashion shows and carnival, all of which using Batik as a constant theme throughout. There will also be a bazaar offering various Batiks and souvenirs unique to Solo for your perusal.

Solo International Ethnic Music Festival

Another recent offering in Solo is the Solo International Ethnic Music (SIEM) Festival, which focuses on performances and celebration of ethnic music. The event is a unique platform for collaboration between ethnic and modern music, local and international artists. The long list of performers includes artists from all over the archipelago, such as Minang, Riau, Yogyakarta, Surabaya, Papua, Kalimantan, and even foreign imports from Japan, Australia, India, New Zealand and many others.

The gamelan, and Yogyakarta's Sekaten. Photo credit - Jungle_Boy and protectglasgow.

The gamelan, and Yogyakarta's Sekaten. Photo credit - Jungle_Boy and protectglasgow.

Gerebeg Mulud

In Javanese, gerebeg means a crowd of people and mulud refers to one of the month in the Javanese calendar. This event, also known as Sekaten, is to celebrate the birthday of the Holy Prophet Muhammad. It is a day-long procession which sees two of the sacred gamelan (a Javanese musical instrument) transported towards the Mesjid Agung (Holy Mosque).

During the night there will be a street-side market in the north side of town to add to the revelries, a great spot to try various Javanese and Yogyakartan foods and hunt for souvenirs.

Papua Festival. Photo credit - jurvetson.

Papua Festival. Photo credit - jurvetson.

Lembah Baliem Festival

This uniquely Papuan festival traces its root in the belief held by the various local tribe that war is not only a conflict of power and interest, but also a symbol of fertility and prosperity. Since 20 years ago however, the local government has enforced peace between the warring tribes to prevent long-lasting vengeance and loss of life. So instead, the Lembah Baliem Festival was held to replace the war between the tribes.

As you can guess, the main event is the mock-war between the local tribes. Imagine more than 20 different tribes each with 30 to 50 people clad in traditional clothing, spears, bow and arrows and parang! There are also other performances and attractions, such as local traditional games, dance performances, as well as a cookout showcasing the local cuisine.

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