Chuseok or Korean Thanksgiving, is a festive season when families reunite. Instead of getting bored in front of television after catching up on the latest gossip among relatives, family outings can provide more entertainment, and a variety of programs are available at amusement parks, palaces and museums.
◆ Amusement Parks
Seoul's Lotte World stages performances of a traditional circle dance at 8 p.m. from Friday to Oct. 3. Inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2009, Ganggangsullae is a seasonal harvest and fertility ritual popular in the southwestern region. Visitors can also enjoy other traditional performances such as samulnori (quartet percussion), fan dances and folk songs.
Seoul Land in Gwacheon, Gyeonggi Province, is also preparing traditional performances and games including tightrope walking and parades of character dolls. From Monday through Wednesday, Taekwondo-themed performances will be staged at 3 p.m. blending the martial art with dancing routines, while martial artists will also demonstrate breaking wooden boards and give short scripted performances.
Visitors can also participate in board games played by tossing four sticks (yut-nori), or striking rice cakes with a mallet (ddeokme-chigi).
◆ Aquarium and Folk Village
The COEX Aquarium in Seoul offers visitors the chance to enjoy unique performances staged in water. Divers wearing hanbok, or traditional Korean dress, will jump on seesaws (neol-ttwigi), throw arrows into a narrow barrel (tuho), and walk on tightropes. A huge school of "dancing" sardines will also delight onlookers.
Meanwhile, the Korean Folk Village in Yongin, Gyeonggi Province will offer a slew of activities. Traditional rites will be demonstrated and visitors can tuck in to some ritual food offered at ancestral ceremonies. Agricultural equipment that was used to harvest grain and crops will also be displayed so visitors can get some hands-on experience of operating them.
Jongmyo, a Confucian shrine, several palaces and numerous Chosun-era royal tombs will also be open to the public free of charge on Sunday. Those who turn up wearing hanbok will also be able to enter without paying from Saturday to Monday.
A variety of programs will be offered at popular sites like Changgyeong Palace, where visitors can take photos with a performer dressed as a Chosun-era queen between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, call the Cultural Heritage Administration at 1600-0064.
The National Museum of Korea will stage traditional music performances from 3 p.m. on Sunday accompanied by explanations by Hwang Byung-ki, a virtuoso player of the gayageum, or 12-stringed zither. For free tickets, online reservations can be made at museum.go.kr.