Posted by: Matt Kelley | 2 September 2008

Festivals Calendar – September

Autumn is my favorite season in Korea, when balmy days replace the heat and humidity of summer! It’s the best time to get out and discover one of Korea’s many festivals. Here’s a rundown of what to see this month:

Geumsan Insam (Ginseng) Festival (Geumsan, South Chungcheong Province)
August 29-September 7
Geumsan is famous for its high-quality ginseng. The Insam Festival, which has been held every September since 1981, is a traditional cultural event in which villagers pray for a good harvest the following year. Programs include ginseng harvesting, performances of traditional arts and rituals, concerts, an international ginseng trade fair, a ginseng cooking competition and more. (more info: 041-750-2391 or

Chungmuro International Film Festival (Seoul)
September 3-11

Chungmuro street, which runs through the heart of Seoul, is widely regarded as a symbolic site for Korean cinema and remains the Mecca of the Korean film industry. A total of 170 films from 40 countries, including the latest in digital motion pictures, will be screened at major theaters throughout Seoul and other venues, including Seoul Plaza and Namsangol Hanok Village. (more info: 02-2236-6231 or

Cheongju Jikji Festival (Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province)
September 4-7
Jikji, the world’s oldest text printed with metal type, has been designated by UNESCO as a Memory of the World artifact. Cheongju, home to the world’s oldest movable metal type, has held the Jikji Festival since 2003 as part of plans to develop the city into a “center of printing culture” like Germany’s Mainz, and to promote Jikji around the world. Programs include taking part in ancient printing methods, performances of traditional plays and music, tight rope walking and exhibitions of old printed texts. (more info: 043-277-5767 or

Hyoseok Cultural Festival (Pyeongchang, Gangwon Province)
September 6-15
Lee Hyo-seok is one of the most famed Korean novelists of the 20th century. The highland town of Pyeongchang is famous as his place of birth and for the gorgeous buckwheat flowers that cover the land in autumn. The festival commemorating the novelist, author of “Buckwheat Season,” offers various commemorative programs amid the backdrop of the buckwheat village. Programs include the performance of traditional folk plays, reenactments of traditional market places, performances of traditional and modern music and dance as well as writing contests. Visitors will also have a chance to taste local specialty dishes made from buckwheat flour.  (more info: 033-335-2323 or

Hanji Festival (Wonju, Gangwon Province)
September 24-28
The 10th Wonju Hanji Festival, held under the theme “Into the light of Hanji,” will offer visitors the chance to experience the beauty and versatility of hanji, or Korean traditional hand-made paper, with exhibitions, workshops, educational programs, events and seminars at various venues around the Chiak Art Center. 
A hanji fashion show featuring clothes made from hanji will celebrate the opening of the festival at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 24. (more info: 033-761-8012 or

Jeonju Sori Festival (Jeonju, North Jeolla Province)
September 26-October 4
Sori is a Korean word referring to archetypal human voices with which humans communicate with nature and the universe. It also refers to the combining of the human voice with instrumental sounds which form Korea’s musical heritage. The annual Jeonju Sori festival blends Korea’s musical heritage, including pansori performances developed in the ancient city of Jeonju, with the world. Music lovers will be provided an opportunity to experience music of Korea and the world. (more info: 063-232-8398 or

Andong International Mask Dance Festival (Andong and Hahoe Village, North Gyeongsang Province)
September 26-October 4
The Andong International Mask Dance Festival will be held for 10 days on the main stage in Andong and Hahoe Village. The theme of this year’s festival is “exciting maskdance, world of pleasure.” From old times the mask dance has been used to indirectly criticize the ruling “yangban” class. Yangban refers to the ruling elite during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). It was often criticized and condemned by the common people. Direct criticism of the yangban was strictly forbidden then, so behind masks the common people satirized the yangban, developing the craft into various forms of masked dance with regional variations. (more info: 054-840-6398 or

(Festival descriptions are thanks to Yonhap News and the Information Network Village festival calendars.)



  1. […] a look at the city of Gangneung’s Joseon Dynasty-era homes from our September 6th show, a list of upcoming festivals and a profile of Seoul’s Gyeonghui Palace. I’ve also started a list of travel […]

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