Amazing Korean Festivals

How I wish to visit South Korea and experience the unique and amazing Korean traditional Festivals, the famous Korean national and local festivals, that Korean people have continued to commemorate in various ways, according to cultural and traditional traditions. Korean traditional festivals are based mostly on its agricultural and cultural rituals and myths. The Korean New Year’s Day or known as Seollal and Chuseok, or Harvest Festival are regarded as the biggest festivals.

Busan Christmas Tree Festival

Christmas tree Festival in Busan (image credit:wheninnewplaces.com)

Christmas tree Festival in Busan (image credit:wheninnewplaces.com)

Christmas Day has been a national holiday in South Korea since 1945, and known the only country in East Asia to celebrate Christmas due to the fact that there are 30% Christians in South Korea. The Busan Christmas Tree Festival, now in its fifth year, began in November 30, 2013 until January 5th 2014. where locals and tourists was amazed with the bright lights and Christmas Tree, light shows and last year you can be mesmerized by prominent displays, art installations, and this year’s theme of Love and Healing. The Busan Christmas Tree Festival;s annual winter event, was held in the Jung District’s Gwangbok-ro area in Busan.

Korean New Year

Seollal or Korean Lunar New Year (image credit:globalcitizendaily.com)

Seollal or Korean Lunar New Year (image credit:globalcitizendaily.com)

Korean Lunar New Year Drumming (image credit:koreaye.com)

Korean Lunar New Year Drumming (image credit:koreaye.com)

Korean lantern parade (image credit:www.ftkamadison.org)

Korean lantern parade (image credit:www.ftkamadison.org)

Korea Traditional Game Tuho

Korea Traditional Game Tuho

Korean culture charye or Jesa

Korean culture charye or Jesa

Korean drink Soju

Korean drink Soju

Korean New Year also known in Korea as Seollal, the most significant holidays in Korea, which lasts three days, also spelled as Sŏllal, also known as, Sesu, Wondan, Wonil, Sinwon is the Korean Lunar calendar first day, and one of the biggest holidays in Korea along with Chuseok also known as the Thanksgiving day in Korea. The Seolla generally refers to lunar new year or Eumnyeok Seollal, also called as Gujeong. Seollal or Korean New Year, may also refer to the solar new year or Yangnyeok Seollal, otherwise known as Sinjeong. The Seollal usually falls on the second new moon day after winter solstice, unless there is a very rare leap day, week or month insertion into some calendar’s eleventh or twelfth month in the lead-up to the Lunar New Year. This occurrence if the Lunar New Year falls on the day of the third new moon after the winter solstice, then the next occurrence will be in 2033. Korean New Year is an important family holiday, and this three-day holiday is the best time for Koreans to return to their hometowns visiting parents and relatives, where they usually perform a memorail ancestral ritual called charye or Jesa is a ceremony commonly a Korean traditional practice, usually held on the death anniversary of the ancestors. Most Koreans dress up in their traditional colorful traditional Korean hanbok clothing, however recently, Koreans prefer to wear formal attire instead of their hanbok. Most Korean ancestors make soju a Korean alcoholic drink which means welcoming spring, for the Korean New Year, a very important day. Korean ancestor believed that drinking Soju, they could drive out mysterious disease and bad aura. Soju, a distilled beverage local to Korea. Popular brand of soju, also known as world’s first and third top selling brand of alcohol. are Jinro and Lotte. Soju alcohol usually drank cool and consumed neat, served single, unmixed liquor, and usually served without being chilled and without any water, ice, or other mixer. Alcoholic neat drinks and rocks drinks are commonly served in a rock glass, cocktail glass or shot glass. Neat sometimes is referred to as drink straight, up or bottoms up or straight up, because sometimes this term is used to mean neat.

Seollal Traditional folk games

Korea yut pan game New Years Day

Korea yut pan game New Years Day

Korean Jegichagi

Korean Jegichagi

flying kites

flying kites

Korean Neolttwigi (image credit:thenekadtraveler.com)

Korean Neolttwigi (image credit:thenekadtraveler.com)

During Korean New Year, a lot of traditional games played by traditional Korean family, playing traditional board game called yunnori  also known as Yut Nori , also called cheok-sa or sa-hee and still a popular game nowadays, and during Korean New Year. Yunnori is played using different types of specially designed Yut sticks or Jang-jak sticks. Korean men and boys would fly the traditionally rectangle kites known as yeonnalligi, and also play a game in which a light object such as coin, is wrapped in paper or cloth, and then kicked in a badminton shuttlecock like known as jegichagi. While Korean women and girls would have traditionally played Neolttwigi, or nol-ttwigi a game of jumping on a seesaw known in Korea as Neol, also known as see-so, typically played on traditional Korean holidays such as Korean New Year, Chuseok and Dano and gongginori game played with five little gonggi (originally a little stone, nowadays some locals buy manufactured gongi in shops) while children spin paengi.

Tteokguk

Korean food Tteokguk mandu

Korean food Tteokguk mandu

Tteokguk is a traditional Korean dish served during the Korean New Year celebration. Ttokguk Korean cuisine is a soup with sliced rice cakes. According to Korean age reckoning, in which the Korean New Year is similar to celebrating a birthday for Koreans, and eating tteokguk is part of celebrating their birthday, and after eating your tteokguk, they are one year older. Most Korean people prepare some food and eat on January 1 (New Year’s Day), where they usually entertain a visitor who visit to bow for New Years and food, such as the tteokguk soup. During New year’s Day, eating tteokguk is believed to be granted good luck for the new coming year and an additional year of life. Tteokguk is usually garnished with thin julienned (cut into thin strips) cooked eggs, marinated meat, and gim or kim, an edible seaweed. 

Sebae

Korean Sebae (image credit: sedonakorean.org)

Korean Sebae (image credit: sedonakorean.org)

Korean Sebae (image credit:mosaicofhope.net)

Korean Sebae (image credit:mosaicofhope.net)

During Seollal, a traditional activity called Sebae is observed activity and is filial piety oriented. Korean children wish a happy new year to their elders (grandparents, aunts and uncles, parents) by performing one traditional bow rituals with more than one bow, which commonly  involved for the deceased family members and the words saehae bok mani badeuseyo, which means to have a blessed New Year. And in return, the parents give reward with the children’s gesture by giving them new year’s money, pocket money or gift money usually in the form of crisp paper money notes, in lucky bags made with beautiful silk design and deokdam, an offering words of wisdom. Some Korean parents gave out ddeok or rice cakes and fruit to their children instead of money. Most Korean children wear hanbok before and during the bowing rites, as a respectful way to appreciate ancestors and elders.

Busan International Fireworks Festival

Busan Firework Festival

Busan Firework Festival

Busan International Fireworks Festival (image credit:www.busanhaps.com)

Busan International Fireworks Festival (image credit:www.busanhaps.com)

Busan International Festival (image credit english.chosun.com)

Busan International Festival (image credit english.chosun.com)

Busan International Fireworks Festival where various fireworks are observed light up the sky in harmony, held annually in Gwangalli Beach, Busan, South Korea. Thousands of fireworks light up the sky with the festival’s theme song against a backdrop of the sea and held in Gwangan Bridge, a two level suspension bridge, that connects Haeundae-gu to Suyeong-gu.

Daeboreum

Korea Daeboreumnal Full Moon Festival

Korea Daeboreumnal Full Moon Festival

Korea Daeboreumnal Full Moon Festival

Korea Daeboreumnal Full Moon Festival

Korea Daeboreum First Full Moon Festival

Korea Daeboreum First Full Moon Festival

Korean dessert Yaksik

Korean dessert Yaksik

Daeboreum Festival crack nuts with one teeth (image credit:seoulawesome.wordpress.com)

Daeboreum Festival crack nuts with one teeth (image credit:seoulawesome.wordpress.com)

Daeboreum which means literally Great Full Moon is a Korean holiday with many traditions and ceremonies, that celebrates the first full moon of the Korean lunar calendar new year which is the First Full Moon Festival Korean version. One of the popular Korean custom is to crack nuts with one’s teeth, believed by many Koreans, that this practice help’s keep one’s teeth healthy for the whole year. While in the countryside, on New Year’s Day, people climb mountains, braving cold weather, trying to catch the first rise of the moon, which Koreans  believed that the first person to see the moon rise will have their wishes come true or have good luck the whole year. They also believed that in the early morning of Daeboreum‘s Day if they crack a nut in your mouth will help strengthen teeth, can prevent from allergies and boils and bring good fortune for the coming year. During the Daeboreum Day, Ogokbap is served for breakfast, consisting of rice, millet, Indian millet, beans, and red beans or gok includes grains and beans, prepared and eaten with various dried herbs. Yaksik or yakbap is one special dish of Daeboreum. During Daeboreum Day, there is also drinking, called Ear-quickening wine alcohol, which means, if someone drink this alcohol, the person would be quick to hear and hear good news for the whole year. Koreans traditionally do not give any food to dogs During Daeboreum Day, Koreans do not feed food to their dogs, because they believed that if the dogs eat on this day, the dogs  will contract gad flies usually horse fly or bot fly that annoys animals and become ill during the coming summer.

Chuseok / Thanksgiving Day

Korean Chuseok or ancestor veneration Jesa

Korean Chuseok or ancestor veneration Jesa

Korean rice cake Songpyeon

Korean rice cake Songpyeon

Makgeolri

Makgeolli

Korean Hangwa

Korean Hangwa

Korean cuisine Japchae

Korean cuisine Japchae

Chuseok formerly called hangawi also known as Korea’s Thanksgiving Day, from older Korean term for “the great middle of autumn”, is a major three day holiday in Korea also called harvest festival celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar, and just like harvest festivals held around the Autumn Equinox, a celebration of the good harvest, where Koreans visit their ancestral hometowns sharing feast of traditional Korean cuisine such as songpyeon and sindoju and dongdongju rice wines. On Chuseok Festival Koreans return to their hometowns to pay respects to their ancestor’s spirit, and perform rituals for ancestral worship early in the morning. After the morning rituals, the Koreans visit the tombs of their immediate ancestors to trim plants and clean the tomb’s area, and offer food, drink, and harvest crops, which are attributed to the blessing of their ancestors. On Chuseok day, Korean family must know how important how to arrange the Charye foods on the table, where on the north side of the table, rice and soup are placed and on the south side of the table, the fruits and vegetables are arranged. While on the west and in the middle area, meat dishes are served and rice cakessoju or makgeolli drinks is set on the east area. This basic rules of Charye table setting is consistent but some Charye settings might be little bit different from each region. Makgeolli rice wine, an alcoholic drink native to Korea, is also known as makkoli, makoli or makuly (takju). Makgeolli is made from a mixture of wheat and rice, which gives it a milky, off-white color, and sweetness. During the Chuseok week, Seongmyo is a visiting to ancestral grave sites and Beolcho is the activity to clean and remove weeds around the grave to clean their ancestor’s graveyard area. Songpyeon prepared as one of the major foods and eaten during the Chuseok holiday ,a Korean traditional rice cake stuffed with ingredients such as sesame seeds, black beans, mung beans, cinnamon, pine nut, walnut, chestnut, jujube, and honey. Making songpyeon, is steaming them over a layer of pine-needles pine trees which is critical. The word song in Songpyeon in Korean means pine tree. The pine needles adds aromatic fragrance, beauty and taste in songpyeon’s rice cake that resembles the shape of a full moon, but the shape resembles to the half full moon if the songpyeon rice cake is stuffed. Hangwa is a Korean traditional  confectionery another popular Korean traditional dish that people eat during Chuseok Day. Hangwa’s most famous types are Yakgwa, Yugwa and Dasik. The Yakgwa is a medicinal cookie made of fried rice flour dough ball and Yugwa is a fried cookie referred to as a flower of Hangwa. While the Dasik is a tea cake that Korean people love to eat with tea. Other Korean foods prepared on Chuseok  day is called japchae, a Korean dish commonly made from sweet potato noodles or called dangmyeon, or in Chinese term known as Chinese vermicelli noodles, stir fried in sesame oil with various vegetables, Bulgogi or neobiani (grilled marinated beef) and various fruits.

Korean music Nongak

Korean music Nongak

Korean wrestling or Ssireum

Korean wrestling or Ssireum

During the Chuseok Day, different kinds of folk games are played to celebrate the coming of Autumn and abundant harvest. Most villagers  dress up in a cow-like costume and turtle-like, and along with Nongak band playing Korean music as the villagers go from house to house. Other common folk games vary from region to region, and played archery and Ssireum (Korean Wrestling).

Korean.Dance or  Ganggangsullae dance

Korean.Dance or Ganggangsullae dance

Korean plank

Korean plank

The Korean traditional folk dance called Ganggangsullae dance performed on Chuseok night during full moon. Korean women perform the traditional dance wearing their hanbok, Korean traditional dress, make a big circle by holding each other’s hands, and sing a song while they are going around forming a circle. Other folk games, on Chuseok day, Koreans play the Korean plank, or teeterboard a traditional game women play on a wooden board, or acrobatic apparatus, that resembles a seesaw.

Dano

Korea Dano Festival

Korea Dano Festival

Korean martial art Taekkyeon

Korean martial art Taekkyeon

Sweet flag or Korean Changpo

Sweet flag or Korean Changpo

Dano Festival, women wet hair with changpo (image credit:kusec.tistory.com)

Dano Festival, women wet hair with changpo (image credit:kusec.tistory.com)

Iris roots

Iris roots

Dano, also known as Surit-nal, which means high day or the day of god, is a Korean traditional holiday of Celebration of spring and farming, that falls on the lunar Korean calendar’s 5th day of the fifth month. Dano Festival North Korea‘s official holiday and one of South Korea’s major traditional holidays.  South Korea has retained several festivals such as Gangneung Dano Festival. The word surit return back to suri, which means wheel, the reason why the rice cakes were marked with a wheel pattern. The Dano festival was a shamanistic ritual that worship the sky deity to commemorate the end of sowing season. Dano was a name given, originally called Surit-nal, derived from the Duanwu Festival, was adopted during the Joseon Dynasty celebrated on the exact date. Korean women traditionally, washed their hair in water boiled with changpo or Sweet Flag plants, and believed to make one’s hair shiny. Most Korean people wore blue and red clothes and dyed red hairpins with the iris roots. Korean men wore iris roots around their waist to ward off evil spirits. People also believed that herbs wet with dew on Dano’s early morning can” heal” stomachaches and wounds. On Dano’s Festival, the traditional foods served include surichitteok, ssuktteok, and other herb rice cake and giving fans as gifts. The most popular folk games of Dano are the swing (commonly played by women), Korean wrestling (ssireum played by men), stone battle game seokjeon and taekkwon. The mask dance is also one popular dance among peasants due to its strong inclination for satirical lyrics despising local aristocrats.

Chilseok

Chilseok Festival (image credit:10mag.com)

Chilseok Festival (image credit:10mag.com)

Korean Sirutteok rice cake with azuki beans

Korean Sirutteok rice cake with azuki beans

Chilseok is a Korean traditional festival that falls on the seventh day of the seventh month of the Korean lunisolar calendar, a period where the heat begins to pass away and the start of the monsoon season, and the rain that falls during Chilseok period is called Chilseok water. During Chilseok period, pumpkins, cucumbers, and melons start to prosper, the Korean people gave their offerings in a traditional fried pumpkin to the Great Dipper. Koreans traditionally take baths for good health during Chilseok day, eat wheat flour noodles and grilled wheat cake and wheat pancake known as milijeonbyeong and sirutteok, a steamed rice cake with azuki beans. Chilseok or Thanksgiving Day, is known as the last period to enjoy eating wheat based foods, before the cold winds after Chilseok will ruin the aroma of wheat, preparing these dishes a must for the dinner table. The Korean’s Chilseok festival inspired the Tanabata Festival in Japan and in China Qixi Festival or the Chinese Valentine’s Day or the Magpie Festival. The summer monsoon shifts through a series of dry and rainy phases as the rain belt moves northward, from may to August, that starts over Indochina and the South China Sea starts at the month of May, to the Yangtze River Basin and Japan which is on June, and finally to North China and Korea on July. Soon the monsoon ends in August, the rain belt moves back to South China. In Korean, they call the East Asian monsoon as jangma. The monsoon boundary in Japan, as it advances northward during the period of spring, is referred to as the bai-u, while it is referred to as the shurin when the monsoon season boundary retreats back southward during the month of  autumn.

Chopail or Buddha’s Birthday (8th day of 4th month) and Lotus Lantern Festival in South Korea

South Korea Lotus Lantern Festival and Buddha's Birthday

South Korea Lotus Lantern Festival and Buddha’s Birthday

South Korean Buddha Birthday (image credit:www.zimbio.com)

South Korean Buddha Birthday (image credit:www.zimbio.com)

Korean cuisine Bibimbap

Korean cuisine Bibimbap

Chopail also called as Buddha’s Birthday, where Buddhist people celebrate the founder of Buddhism. The birthday of Buddha is celebrated in Korea, according to the Lunisolar calendar, also known as (Seokga tansinil), which means Buddha’s birthday or Bucheonim osin nal, which means the day when the Buddha came. During Chopail or Buddha’s Birthday, various colorful Lotus lanterns covering the entire temple throughout the Buddha’s birthday month which are often flooded down the street, many temples served free meals and tea to all visitors.The traditional breakfast and lunch being prepared and served are often sanchae bibimbap, means mixed rice, served in a bowl of warm white rice topped with namul (sautéed and seasoned vegetables) and gochujana (chili pepper paste). Bibimbap dish is commonly added by a raw or fried egg and sliced meat, usually use is beef meat, stirred together before serving.

Jinju Namgang Yudeung Festival

Korea Jinju Lantern Festival in Nam.River

Korea Jinju Lantern Festival in Nam.River

Jinju Namgang Yeudung  Festival (image credit:kimchicrew.com)

Jinju Namgang Yeudung Festival (image credit:kimchicrew.com)

Nongae suicide from  uiam bawi  reenactment (image credit:paelladekimchi.com)

Nongae suicide from uiam bawi reenactment (image credit:paelladekimchi.com)

Nongae experience reenactment of suicide drama (image credit:populargusts.blogspot.com

Nongae Festival, experience reenactment of suicide drama (image credit:populargusts.blogspot.com

Jinju bullfighting fighting contest (image credit:english.jinju.go.kr)

Jinju bullfighting fighting contest (image credit:english.jinju.go.kr)

Jinju is a city in South Gyeongsang Province, South Korea, famous for its cultural-historical tourist attractions such as Jinju Castle, the Jinju National Museum and the Nam-gang Prehistoric Site Museum, which the cultural events held every year. Famouse festivals in Jinju are the Jinju Namgang Lantern Festival celebrated in October for about ten days and cultural tourism festivals found in Jinju, featuring the amazing floating lanterns on the Nam River to commemorate the patriotic spirit of the 70,000 militia corps and government troops who died defending Jinju from the Japanese forces during the Imjin War (1592–1598). Other Jinju’s major festivals are the Nongae Festival, the Korean Drama Festival, the Gaecheon Arts Festival and the Jinju National Bullfighting Contest. The Jinju Nongae Festival which is held in May commemorates and celebrates the sacrifice of the beautiful and patriotic gisaeng or Kisaeng (professional Korean entertainer). Nongae Ju‘s suicidal drowning assassination of a Japanese general, Keyamura Rokusuke leading him to the cliff, where Nongae, held fast her fingers with rings, embraced the general, that locked her around him and throw herself along with the general into the river, killing them both, together with the 70,000 Koreans who lost their lives in the battle of Jinju Castle during the Imjin War. The Nongae Festival features a reenactment of Nongae’s emotional reenactment suicide-drowning of a Japanese general from uiam bawi (meaning righteous rock) below Jinju’s Chokseongnu castle pavilion on the banks of the Nam River.  While the Gaecheon Arts Festival is held from October 3 to 10 every year and the entire city celebrate Korea’s first culture art festival of Jinju province, which motivates the artistic spirit of the Korean people. The art festival falls around Gaecheonjeol (National Foundation Day).

Jangsu Hanurang Sagwarang Festival

Jangsu Hanurang Sagwarang Festival (image credit:english.visitkorea.or.kr)

Jangsu Hanurang Sagwarang Festival (image credit:english.visitkorea.or.kr)

Jangsu Hanurang Sagwarang Festival (image credit:english.visitkorea.or.kr)

Jangsu Hanurang Sagwarang Festival (image credit:english.visitkorea.or.kr)

Jangsu picking red apples festival (image credit:english.visitkorea.or.kr)

Jangsu picking red apples festival (image credit:english.visitkorea.or.kr)

Jangsu Hanurang Sagwarang Festival held annually in September, at Jangsu County, well known for its superior quality apples and Hanu (Korean beef). The festival features shows and entertainment for Jangsu locals and visitors to enjoy such as a Hanu and apple theme hall, Hanu market, Hanu food sampling, apple picking, visiting a cattle ranch and other Hanu and apple-related events. The most entertaining part of the amazing festival are the traditional folk games, agricultural culture experience programs, gitjeollori, a ceremony performed for a good harvest, which is unique and occur only to the Jangsu county and madanggeuk (outdoor theater) during the festival. Red color is the theme of the Jangsu Hanurang Festival, which the city specializes in red-colored agriculture and regional specialties, which is the first “red festival” in Korea. Jangsu county embraces the spirit of Uiam Joo (Red) Nongae’s spirit who gave her life to kill the Japanese General responsible for taking over the city.

Seorak Cultural Festival

Korea Tteok making contest at Seorak Festival

Korea Tteok making contest at Seorak Festival

Korean food teok

Korean food teok

Korean dessert Tteok Songpyeon Kkultteok

Korean dessert Tteok Songpyeon Kkultteok

Korea Injeolmi at Seorak Festival

Korea Injeolmi at Seorak Festival

Korea squid food at Seorak Festival

Korea squid food at Seorak Festival

The annual local cultural festival held every end of October known as Seorak Cultural Festival in Sokeho City, Gangwon Province, South Korea,is a tourism city surrounded by the Sea of Japan (East Asia) and Mount Seoraksan National Park. Most of the Seorak Cultural Festival are environmental and local specialties related such as squid.The Seorak Cultural festival has been established aimed to promote unity among Korean traditional folk culture which originated in Sokcho, and the local residents. The local residents  and tourists participate in several events during this festival season, regarding the sea and mountain, like mountain climbing competition, tour around Seoraksan National Park, a gaetbae or ship-dragging competition, a fishing competition, rolling large rocks or boulders down hillsides of heundeul bawi literally which means swinging rock, and the contest for tasting of squid dishes.

Hi! Seoul Festival

Korea Hi Seoul Festival

Korea Hi Seoul Festival

Korean dance Bukcheong Saja Noreum, Hi Seoul Festival

Korean dance Bukcheong Saja Noreum, Hi Seoul Festival

Korea Namsadang nori dance troupe Hi Seoul Festival

Korea Namsadang nori dance troupe Hi Seoul Festival

In Seoul South Korea, a seasonal cultural festival is celebrated four times a year known as the Hi! Seoul Festival held every spring, summer, autumn, and winter that begun since 2003. The Hi! Seoul Festival is based on the Seoul Citizens’ Day held every October that started since 1994 to commemorate the Seoul’s 600 years history as the South Korea’s capital. The celebration of Hi! Seoul festival where tourists and local residents can buy various products and Korean foods in a designated booths from different countries which sell their own kind of delicacies and traditional dishes, clothing such the national dress, hanbok where visitors could try and buy, and other items.

Chuncheon Puppet festival

Chuncheon Pupppet Festival (image credit:english.visitkorea.or.kr)

Chuncheon Pupppet Festival (image credit:english.visitkorea.or.kr)

Chuncheon Puppet Festival, Korea (image credit:english.visitkorea.or.kr)

Chuncheon Puppet Festival, Korea (image credit:english.visitkorea.or.kr)

 

Chuncheon Mime Festival

Chuncheon Mime Festival

An annual festival in Chuncheon, South Korea called Chuncheon Puppet festival that includes both Korean and international performers using puppet costumes, parades and events. The Chuncheon Puppet Festival usually held in August that take place at the Chuncheon Puppet Theater. Another festival held in Chuncheon is known as the Chuncheon International Mime Festival, featuring exciting new methods of mime or theatrical technique of expressing an idea or mood without speech and street performances of many artist’s talents or master performers. The International Mime Festival features numerous performances from mime troupes from Korea and famous international troupes from Taiwan, Denmark, Germany and other countries. This non-verbal mime festival is a unique opportunity for Foreigners or non-Korean speakers to enjoy the modern technique of Korea’s modern performing arts.

Kimchi Festival

Kimchi or Gimchi

Kimchi or Gimchi

kimchi festival in Gwanju, South Korea (image credit:briandeutsch.blogspot.com)

kimchi festival in Gwanju, South Korea (image credit:briandeutsch.blogspot.com)

Korean stew Kimchi jjigae

Korean stew Kimchi jjigae

Korean cuisine Kimchi bokkeumbap or Kimchi fried rice

Korean cuisine Kimchi bokkeumbap or Kimchi fried rice

Korean pancake Kimchijeon

Korean pancake Kimchijeon

Kimchi  also spelled kimchee or gimchi, is a traditional fermented side dish of Korea, commonly made of vegetables seasoned with variety of seasonings, described as spicy or sour. Kimchi’s older traditional preparation was often fermented by keeping the the vegetables inside the jars and buried underground for months at a time. Kimchi is considered Korea’s national dish, and there are hundreds of varieties of style and kinds, made with a main vegetable ingredient such as nappa cabbage, radish, scallion or cucumber. Kimchi is also used as a main ingredient for many Korean cuisines such as Kimchi jjigae or Kimchi stew, kimchi pancake Kimchijeon or kimchi jeon or kimchi pancake, Kimchiguk or kimchi soup and kimchi fried rice or  Kimchi bokkeumbap. The most common ingredients used for seasonings were, brine (salt solution in water), scallions (green onion, spring onion), spices, ginger, chopped radish, garlic, shrimp sauce (saeujeot) and fish sauce (aekjeot). The Gwangju Kimchi Festival celebrates that features kimchi as Korea’s national food. The Kimchi Festival features eating wide range of variety of kimchi allowing tourists and visitors as well as the locals, to learn how to make kimchi, which is very important in Korean culture, where a Kimchi Museum was built in Seoul, inside the COEX Mall (Samseong-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul). The Kimchi Festival is held annually in Gwangju, South Korea which focus on the Honam (Jeolla-do) Province food culture and kimchi. The Gwangju Kimchi Festival also includes kimchi making contest, where there are many kimchi varieties, with specialties from each region. Some types of kimchi were, Baek kimchi means white kimchi and it is made without red chillies and has a refreshing taste and not so spicy, Tong baechu kimchi the most classical kimchi, made with unsliced Chinese or nappa cabbage leaves. The Nabak kimchi is made with thin sliced radish and cabbage, the Gaji kimchi or Gaji Sobaegi Kimchi,( Stuffed Eggplant Kimchi) made with aubergine (British English for eggplant) that is sliced, stuffed with spices and left to ferment, Jiokpa kimchi the main ingredient in this type of kimchi are spring onions rather then cabbage and Chonggak kimchi which is made with young radish, Gaji Bokkeum (Stir-fried Eggplants) Oi Kimchi (Cucumber Kimchi), or oisobagi kimchi (stuffed cucumber kimchi).

Nabak Kimchi

Korean cuisine Nabak kimchi

Korean cuisine Nabak kimchi

Nabak kimchi is a watery kimchi, similar to Korean cuisine dongchimi, made of thinly sliced Korean white radish and Napa cabbage called baechu into a rectangular shape as main ingredients and salted them with mixed vegetables, spices such as cucumber, scallion, wter dropwort called minari, garlic, ginger,red chillies, chili pepper powder, sugar, salt, and water. Nabak gimchi is commonly eaten during spring and summer, whereas dongchimi is most commonly eaten during winter. Dongchimi is prepared colorless unlike the nabak kimchi which is colored rose pink due to some ingredients used such as chili pepper powders. The nabak term originated from nabaknabak which is a Korean language’s adverb and which means making flattened or slicing thinly.

Chonggak Kimchi

chonggak kimchi (image credit:www.chinahomeappliances.com)

chonggak kimchi (image credit:www.chinahomeappliances.com)

One of varieties of whole radish kimchi is called the Chonggak Kimchi which is popular throughout Korea, and also one of the easiest to make among the kimchi’s variety. Unmarried Korean men in ancient times, fixed their hairstyle in a top knot ponytail. Thus, this Chonggak kimchi is otherwise known as Bachelor Kimchi that resembles this ancient Korean unmarried men’s hair style and was named Bachelor Radish.

Kimchi Seasons

Korean Gimjang Preparation for making kimchi

Korean Gimjang Preparation for making kimchi

Korean kkakdugi or raddish kimchi

Korean kkakdugi or raddish kimchi

Kimchi were traditionally made in varieties of kimchi at different times of the year, based on when various seasonal vegetables grow and harvested to take advantage of hot and cold seasons before refrigeration time. The beginning period of modern refrigeration such as kimchi refrigerators which is specializes and designed with strictly controls to keep different kimchi varieties at optimal temperatures at various fermentation stages, which has made this seasonal period unnecessary. Koreans consume kimchi according to traditional seasonal preferences such as consuming Gimjang or kimjang which is processed and preserved kimchi for the spring season also known as Spring Kimchi, during the winter, fresh potherbs or Leaf vegetables or green vegetables and other vegetables were used to make spicy Korean pickled vegetable kimchi dish. These seasonal types of kimchi were not fermented or even stored for long periods of time and were consumed as fresh.

Summer Kimchi

Kimchi Yeolmu

Kimchi Yeolmu

Korean cuisine Banchan or side dishes

Korean cuisine Banchan or side dishes

Summer kimchi were kimchi’s commonly made of radishes and cucumbers are summer vegetables called yeolmu kimchi, which is eaten in bites, and can add brined fish or shellfish and freshly ground dried chili peppers. Yeolmu Kimchi also known as Young Radish Water Kimchi, is one of the many kimchi varieties, served in as a popular Korean side dish known as banchan. During summer time, Yeolmu Kimchi is popular often eaten with cold noodles. Due to the softness and flavor of the leaves, The yeolmu kimchi are the primary ingredients in many foods rather than the white radish roots, due to the leaves flavor and softness, and these leaves are alkaline foods rich in fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, and low in calories. When harvesting yeolmu, one should pick out the young, thin and small ones, over the aged yeolmu, which tend to be thicker.

Autumn Kimchi

Napa Cabbage or  Chinese cabbage

Napa Cabbage or Chinese cabbage

Korean salted anchovy Myeolchijeot

Korean salted anchovy Myeolchijeot

Korean cuisine Jeotgal Saewoojeot

Korean cuisine Jeotgal Saewoojeot

Napa cabbage or Baechu also called, celery cabbage is prepared known as the Baechu kimchi by inserting blended stuffing materials, called sok ( means inside), between layers of salted uncut Napa cabbage leaves. Depending on the weather conditions and different regions, the sok ingredients can vary during preparation. The baechu kimchi used to have a strong salty flavor until the late 1960s, when a large amount of Myeolchijeot or myeolchi jeot is a variety of jeotgal, a salted fermented dish made with anchovies in Korean cuisine  or Saeujeot had been used.

Korean cuisine Baek kimchi or white kimchi

Korean cuisine Baek kimchi or white kimchi

Korean Dongchimi

Korean Dongchimi

The white kimchi also called baek kimchi is made of baechu or Napa cabbage, seasoned without chili pepper not red in color nor spicy dish. The dongchimi kimchi or white radish kimchi is another example of a kimchi that is not spicy. The varieties of watery white kimchi are sometimes used as an ingredient in some Korean dishes such as cold noodles in dongchimi brine or dongchimi guksu. The white kimchi or baek kimchi is a kimchi variety made without using the chili pepper powder which is commonly used in Korean cuisine for kimchi fermentation. Baek kimchi has a mild and clean flavor, which appeals to children and the elderly, to whom the regular kimchi might be too spicy. The white kimchi or baek kimchi is made of salted baechu (Napa cabbage), mu (radish), minari (water dropworts), spring onions, Korean pear, chestnuts, jujube, giner, garlic, salt, sugar and for garnishing, a little bit of shredded chili pepper. The Dongchimi is a kimchi’s variety that consist of daikon (white radish), baechu or nappa cabbage, scallions, fermented green chili, ginger, bae (Korean pear) and Korean cuisine’s watery brine. As the name dong means winter and an ancient term for kimchi called chimi, suggesting this traditional kimchi consumed during the winter season.

Winter Kimchi

Korean pan fried mushrooms

Korean pan fried mushrooms

Umbilicaria growing on a rock

Umbilicaria growing on a rock

Various kimjang kimchi types were prepared in early winter and stored underground in large kimchi jars in preparation for the long winter months. Nowadays, many Korean city residents use modern kimchi refrigerators with temperature controls to store kimjang kimchi. Korean people begin to make traditional kimchi on November and December, were women often gather together in each other’s homes to help with winter preparations of kimjang kimchi. Salted baechu or baechu kimchi filled with thin strips of radish, parsley, pine nuts, pears, chestnuts, shredded red pepper, manna lichen, garlic, and ginger. Manna lichen or Rock tripe is the common name for various lichens of the genus Umbilicaria that grow on rocks. The lichens are edible when properly prepared and have been used as a source of food in most cases when other food sources were unavailable. The Rock tripe common name for various lichens of the genus  Umbilicaria that grow on rocks, which the Umbilicaria esculenta commonly used as a food in Asian cuisine such as a restorative traditional Chinese medicine. The Umbilicaria esculenta is called shi’er , rock ear in Chinese cuisine, in Japanese cuisine iwatake rock mushroom and in Korean cuisine it is called  seogi.

Korean-style carrot

Korean carrot salad

Korean carrot salad

Korean-style carrot is an ethnic Korean Koryo-saram variant of carrot salad and kimchi dish created by Koryo-saram (ethnic Koreans located in post-Soviet Russia) as because these ethnic Koreans do not have Napa cabbage supplies, which is the main ingredient in traditional Kimchi making. The Korean-saram kimchi dish is found throughout post-Soviet Russia today. While in Uzbekistan it is known as Koreyscha Sabzili Salat.

Boryeong Mud Festival

Korea-Boryeong Mud Festival

Korea-Boryeong Mud Festival

Korea-Boryeong Mud Festival

Korea-Boryeong Mud Festival

The Boryeong Mud Festival is an annual festival held in Boryeong town about 200 km south of Seoul, South Korea during the summer. The first Mud Festival begun in summer of 1998 and the festival attracted about 2.2 million tourists by 2007 to Boryeong. The mud is taken from the Boryeong mud flats, and transported to the Daecheon beach area, where it is used as the attraction of the Mud Experience Land. The Boryeong mud is considered rich in minerals and used to manufacture cosmetics, where the mud festival was originally created in 1996, as a marketing product for Boryeong mud cosmetics, where various range of cosmetics was produced from Boryeong mud flats. The mud festival takes place almost about two weeks celebration, the final second  weekend of July, is the most popular with Korea’s western population. The Boryeong mud flats cosmetics were said to be full of minerals, bentonites, and germaniums, which naturally occur in the mud from the area, and the Boryeong Mud Festival was created in order to promote these cosmetics which became famous among Koreans,tourists from Asia and western countries, as well as American Military base personnel stationed in the country, and foreign English teachers working in Korea. In 2009, the mud festival attracted some controversy, when a group of school children had skin contact with the mud, attending the festival developed skin rashes. During the mud festival period, numerous large attractions are added in the Daechon  seafront area such as mud pool, mud slides, mud prison and mud skiing competitions, colored mud is also created for body painting. Also there were live music competitions and other visual attractions performed on the  large stage erected on the beach.

 

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