5 Best Annual Festivals in Korea

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When visiting an unfamiliar country, taking in a local festival is a great way to mix with the people and learn about their way of life. The following five annual festivals are among the best that South Korea has to offer.

Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival

This winter festival takes place during January in the northern province of Gangwon-do. Participants experience more than 40 memorable activities, including sledding, ice sculpture, ice fishing, ice soccer and more. The festival spans three weeks and is sanctioned by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of South Korea.

Goyang Flower Festival

An April event located just north of Seoul in Ilsan Lake Park, the Goyang Flower Festival is a huge celebration of native and non-native flora. Over 50 million specimens are on display, representing thousands of individual plant species. Indoor exhibits cover several halls. Outdoor floral displays include sculptures and landscape features created from flowers. Participants can get pointers at a flower arranging contest too.

Boryeong Mud Festival

The July Boryeong Mud Festival takes place in Chungcheongnam-do, approximately 200 km south of Seoul. An annual event since 1998, this celebration of the therapeutic properties of mud attracts more than 2 million participants each year. For those unable to attend the entire two-week event, the final weekend of the Mud Festival is known as the best. Attractions include a mud pool, mud slides, and a mud skiing contest.

Jarasum International Jazz Festival

Crowds of over 100,000 annually assemble to enjoy this September jazz festival at Jarasum on the Korean peninsula. The Jazz Festival has become a significant international event since its inception in 2004, drawing well-known performers, such as Nils Landgren, from throughout the world to play music in a beautiful outdoor venue.

Namdo Food Festival

Located in the Naganeupseong Folk Village of food mecca Jeollanam-do, the Namdo Food Festival in October hosts a chefs' competition where the culinary creations are auctioned to the public. Sampling stalls offer participants tastes of regional Korean cuisines as well as dishes from Namdo.

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