Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Day at the Mask Dance Festival

On Saturday, September 25th the Harrington's, accompanied by another dear EPIK teacher made their way to Andong, South Korea to watch and partake of the Mask Dance Festival. The trio had slight difficulties in figuring out what bus they could take and whether or not they'd missed their best chance. After asking a ticket cashier the group discovered that they could in fact board a bus at the desired time of 8:15 am and would arrive in Andong approximately 2 and a half hours later.

Upon arrival the group used thier intuitive navigation skills as well as the large balloons and many other festival goers to determine where the festivities were taking place. As they entered the festival grounds they were amazed by the numerous tents offering all manner of goods from crunchy cinnamon pancakes, to pickled shrimps and kimchi, from puppets and masks to chrysamthemum tea. The tea of course caught Melissa Harrington's eye and tastebuds and was promptly purchased...well, as promptly as possible. The ladies selling the tea were adamant that Mrs. Harrington purchase the chrysamthemum because it was grown and harvested in the area whereas the other teas were not, therefore, the ladies would not tell Mrs. Harrington any thing about the other teas.

The festival also provided many hands on experiences. One could make a mask, learn a mask dance, make soap, sample many foods and drinks (apples, mushroom tea and ramen to name a few). One highlight however, was the station for children to blow bubbles. The bubbles were HUGE and the joy of the children was tangible as they screamed with great enthusiasm and blew giant bubbles. If the Harrington's could impart only one truth to their readers, it would be that Korean children are absolutely adorable!

The primary reason however for attending the Mask Dance Festival is of course to enjoy some of South Korea's cultural heritage in the form of traditional dances. Conviniently, the Festival Organizers provide descriptions of the dances on a large screen at the beginning of each dance, however the trio didn't notice this until near the end of the performances. Regardless, they enjoyed many shows, dances and stories of the Korean nation.

Having soaked up all the festivities they could handle, the trio meandered into the city of Andong to get a feel for this 'new' Korean community. Krystyna and Melissa wandered about while Mike sat and enjoyed some reading. While wandering, the girls were approached by a Korean man who offered them food from his dirt encrusted hand and gave each of them a kind of head caress -- a strange experience for the two which lead to them walking on and making their way into the Andong Market to take in the sights of fresh produce, pastries and a wide myriad of household items.

Getting There: The Harrington's went to Dongbu Bus Terminal via Bus 105 then purchased a ticket for Andong. A time table was available at the site: WorknPlay

When to Go: The Mask Dance Festival generally takes place at the end of September through the beginning of October. More information is available at: VisitKorea

1 comment:

In the life of Nikki and Gary said...

It looks and sounds like you are getting so experience some amazing things. That is so wonderful! I am constantly baffled by you and how awesome you are. I am glad to know you and share in your adventures. Thank you for keeping this going!


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