Korean culture

Winter festivals in South Korea

It is still winter outside, filled with miracles and fairy tales time, a warm blanket, and a mug of the favorite hot drink. In a country of morning freshness, snow is usually not a frequent guest, though, this year it did not pass by Korea, forcing most residents to return to childhood and make a snowman.

An interesting fact is that in Korea exists a custom to make a snowman with two sections and not three as is accustomed in Ukraine. Koreans often prefer to make cute animals like emoticons from KakaoTalk or famous animated characters instead of the usual snowmen. Here is a short video where you can see the difference between Korean snowmen and foreign snowmen:

Snow Festival (눈꽃축제) in Gangwon Province

Our festival parade opens with the “Snow Festival” (눈꽃축제) in Gangwon Province. It takes place between January and February.  In general, most winter festivals in Korea are held there. Gangwon-do is a place where occurs a lot of snowfalls, so at the festival, you can see not only snowmen but also ice sculptures, as well as ride on a sleigh and go skiing from the ice slide. Visitors can give a try to catch fish from ice holes.

The Daegwalnyeong-myeon Snow Festival

The Daegwalnyeong-myeon Snow Festival became a representative Korean winter festival. It was launched in January 1993 and nowadays we celebrate the 29th year when local youth gathered to promote the winter culture of Daegwalnyeong-myeon.

The entertainment program includes an exhibition of snow sculptures in the old village of Daegwalnyeong-myeon, boar hunting, folklore performances, a snow tunnel, a situational game in the old village, mini-games, etc. In 2022 the festival will be held from 21 to 30 January.

Trout Festival in Hwacheon (화천산천어축제), Gangwon Province

This festival has been held for more than a decade, so it also managed to become a representative Korean winter festival. People forget about the cold while enjoying winter games and fishing for the trout. They are involved in various fun activities such as preparing dishes with trout, playing winter games and taking part in competitions, watching an exhibition of ice figures, getting acquainted with the culture of the residents. As you can guess from the festival name, the highlight of the program is fishing. After all, you can go to a special tent and cook grilled fish or make hoe (thin sliced raw fish).

Snow Festival of Mount Tebeksan (태백산눈축제)

The Tebeksan mountain is located on the eastern side of South Korea, which has the highest amount of precipitation.  The festival is dedicated to the beauty of snow and everything that can be made of it or with the help of it. For instance, you can enjoy skiing and sledding from the slide. Have a look at the magnificent snow sculptures that create intricate scenes, so they are definitely greater than simple snowmen.

Ice sculptures are especially noteworthy as they have become a unique art form, for the creation of which were participated masters from other countries such as Japan, Canada, and the Netherlands.

After observing the snow creatures, you will be able to enjoy many concerts, performances and even have a chance to sing karaoke. All activities and celebrations will make you stay until late at night.

To feel the winter fairy tale vibe will help the following festivals: Starlight Festival in the Garden of Morning Tranquility (아침고요수목원 오색별빛정원전) and Festival of Light and Fairy Tales on the Island of Herbs (허브아일랜드가을불빛동화축제).

Starlight Festival in the Garden of Morning Tranquility

The festival’s duration: from December to March. The festival’s garden is gorgeous! According to its name, there are thousands of plants inside, diverse beautiful paths, picturesque places that delight the eye no matter what time of year you visit it.

In the winter season, the garden becomes even more fabulous because it is decorated with an incredible number of shining LED lights that create the feeling of a real winter wonderland.

Festival of Light and Fairy Tales on the Island of Herbs

The festival’s duration: from November to December. If you admire Santa, Christmas bells, festive lights, this festival is a must-visit. It is pretty similar to the aforementioned garden festival. The festival is also focused on beautiful twinkling LED lights, but it also features hundreds of Santa Clauses who gather in Santa’s Village to add an extra festive element to the festival. The undoubted bonus is that the island is home to spas and luxury vacation spots for relaxation.

Author: Anastasiia Holonko

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