Tuesday, July 16, 2013

“To be alive is to totally and openly participate in the simplicity and elegance of here and now.”

HUGE festival, this is only part of it
About a month ago I went to a really fun festival. It was the Gangneung Danoje Festival, the largest traditional festival in Korea. Dano is the 5th day of the 5th month of the lunar year. It was a day to pray for a good harvest, and to promote well-being and good health before the rainy season in summer which would spread diseases and other illnesses.  It is a "traditional Korean festival which UNESCO designated as a masterpiece of human tradition and intangible cultural heritage." 

It represents the mixture of the spiritual background of Korea displaying a diversity of ceremonies with Confucianism, Shamanism, Taoism, and Buddhism rituals.  There were different traditional games, performances, music, rituals and customs, and mask dramas. There was also Korean wrestling (for men) and swinging (for women) to kind of "show off themselves" because they believe this day, the Dano day, is the day all the universe converges and all the energies of nature become one, including the best day to fall in love. 

it was so refreshing, and smelt nice
I made one of these pictures, different character
There is tons of traditional symbolism in everything they wear, eat, and do. There were many traditions for good luck, worshiping the mountain and guardian women deities of the region, preventing misfortunes, and deterring evil spirits. For example there a place to wash your hair in iris infused water, and sample wine and  a rice cake while wishing your family good health and happiness. In addition, there were lots of crafts with the Dano characters such as making your own masks, painting/coloring the characters (which I did), making the festival fans (represents a gift to give family/loved ones hoping for a healthy, cool summer).

The largest market in Korea is held during this festival as well, with goods from all the different areas of the country. 
One of my new addictions :) At a couple festivals they've had this make-your-own version. Which is awesome, since as most of you know I go crazy with toppings! Think snow-cone sundae, it's AMAZING! Here it is.

There was a mask dance performed by elementary school students. It was very impressive!

"The Gwanno Mask Drama is pantomime that was traditionally performed by the male and female servants of the government office.   The characters are the yangban aristocrat, the  new bride, two sisiddakddagi, and two jangjamari. Ten or so musicians perform the accompaniment.

 -The yangban who wears a peaked hat decorated with 30 cm pheasant feathers and carries a fan, and the new bride, with red spots on her cheeks and forehead, symbolize the male and female tutelary deities
- The jangjamari, who wear burlap bags and adorn themselves with seaweed and grains, exhibit the complex characteristics of the deities of the sea and earth. The sisiddakddagi, who look threatening with their faces painted in a variety of colors and carry red swords, represent the deities who ward off evil spirits. 
-The story consists of five scenes. First, the two Jangnamari perform the pastime scene, then the yangban
and the new bride performs the love scene, then the two sisiddakddagi perform the interruption scene. After this, the new bride pretends to commit suicide to prove her love, but in the final scene everyone is reconciled."

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Continuing to soak up the culture and foods of Korea! :-)