Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Great Baekje Revival

On Saturday, October 9th, the Harrington's loaded into a bus with their good friends the Mullen's and their new church community to attend another of Korea's fine festivals. Since arriving in Korea, the Harrington's have now attended two Korean Festivals and have noticed a number of commonalities as well as a few prime differences from attending a festival on their own (Andong Mask Dance Festival) versus attending in the company of native Koreans (Great Baekeje Revival).

One commonality of Korean Festivals is the hands - on aspect.  From opportunities to make masks, learn dances and sample foods and beverages in Andong to opportunities to make stone rubbings, wear costumes and create clay creatures in Gongju - Korea's Festivals allow guests plenty of experiential learning opportunities.

The Baekje Revival allowed the Harrington's a closer look at ancient Korean dynasties including a walk through an exhibit of ancient crowns, jewels and even bronze shoes.  The festival also offered an opportunity for the Harrington's to get to know their church congregation as well as modern Korean Culture. In a nutshell, the Koreans are proud of their history and culture. Attending a Festival in the company of Koreans often means a tight schedule of visitin exhibit after exhibit after explanatory DVD after hands on opportunity after exhibit.  Attending a Festival with native Koreans also meant the Harrington's and all other attendees began the day with ziploc baggie filled with sweet treats, salty snacks, a few mandarin oranges, tasty bread roll and a bottle of water.

Following one of the two main event centers, the couple along with the church congregation made their way to an ancient fortress wall where they enjoyed a short hike, a view of the city and to top it all off, the changing of the guards -- complete with 'realistic' sword fight.

Getting There: If you live in Daejeon, there seems to be no shortage of Korean co-teachers or Daejeon citizens that want YOU to see this festival which is a short 30 minute bus ride from the city. The festival is held in both Gongju and Buyeo if you find yourself needing to track down a bus on your own. However, you really should try to go with Koreans, it's an experience to be sure.

When to Go: This festival has a long running season - beginning in September and running through about mid-October.

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