There are many amazing and unique Korean festivals each year in South Korea! They take place in rural and urban locations are all over the country. They also cover many different themes, from flowers to tea to even ice! Going to these festivals is one of the many benefits to teaching English in Korea for a year. As a teacher, you have the time and opportunity to really dive into unique aspects of Korean culture. Here is a list of four of my personal favorite Korean festivals!
Korean Festivals about Tea
Boseong is located near the southern tip of Korea, nestled between mountains and the water. The area is famous for being the leading producer of tea for the whole country. The area has endless beautiful hills, which are lined with iconic cultivated rows. Besides taking in the gorgeous nature through hikes and walks, the festival has many different activities. You can learn about the whole spectrum of tea production, from picking leaves to make the tea yourself. If you don’t want to make tea, simply skip ahead to sampling all kinds of different teas and tea-related products!
Lotus Lantern Korean Festival
Another great festival is the Lotus Lantern Festival, which takes place annually in Seoul. The history of the festival dates back to around 800 AD and celebrates Buddha’s birthday. The festival lasts several days each year, but the highlight is the lantern parade. The parade happens at night, so you’ll be able to see more than 100,000 lanterns lighting up the sky as the parade works its way through downtown Seoul. Whether you participate in the parade itself or just gaze from the side of the street, you’ll be amazed with the variety and beauty of the lanterns.
Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Korean Festival
The Ice Festival is one of Korea’s more bizarre, but fun festivals! This festival appropriately occurs each winter near a small town in the Northeast corner of Korea. Unsurprisingly each activity revolves around ice. You can check out spectacular and enormous ice sculptures that resemble everything from famous cartoon characters to iconic landmarks. You can also go ice fishing in the traditional way of dropping a fishing line down a hole in the ice. If you’re lucky enough to catch something, you just have to walk over to the cooking stall, where someone will quickly fry your fish for you.
The most fun and absurd event is to go ice water fish grabbing. In this crazy event, you jump into an ice pool filled with fish and you try to grab them with your hands!! If you’re feeling brave, you can participate. But don’t worry if you’re not because you can just stand at the side and laugh while watching the others try!
While living and working in Korea as an English teacher, you will have tons of opportunities to attend these Korean festivals and many more. They are amazing ways to learn more about Korean culture, have fun with your friends, and do something out of the ordinary!