Chuseok, or Korean Thanksgiving, is a festive season when families reunite. Instead of getting bored in front of TV 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.
Palaces and Chosun-era royal tombs will be open to the public free of charge during Chuseok, one of Korea's biggest holidays that celebrates the summer harvest on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar. This year, it falls Thursday, but the connecting Wednesday and Friday are also public holidays.
Those who turn up wearing hanbok will also be able to enter without paying during the holidays, but access to the Secret Garden at the rear of Changdeok Palace will remain restricted.
A variety of programs will be offered at popular sites like Deoksu Palace, which will stage performances of traditional folk songs handed down in Gyeonggi Province over the holidays. At royal tombs, visitors can participate in traditional folk games and drink traditional tea free of charge.
◆ Amusement Parks
Seoul's Lotte World will stage traditional performances of the percussion dance known as pangut, as well as a popular fan dance, from Wednesday through Sunday. Visitors can also take part in a traditional circle dance called Ganggangsullae that was inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2009. Those dressed in hanbok can get 50 percent discounts on tickets with unlimited rides. For more information, call (02) 411-2000 or visit http://www.lotteworld.com.
Everland in Yongin, Gyeonggi Province will also offer visitors the chance to enjoy various activities. People can try their hand at traditional ways of painting plants (plum, orchid, chrysanthemum and bamboo) and have their family mottos written in calligraphic styles free of charge. The amusement park will also stage two daily performances by Bigabi, a group that was invited to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival for their blending of taekwondo and percussion music. For more information, call (031) 320-5000 or visit http://www.everland.com.
Seoul Land in Gwacheon, Gyeonggi Province, will stage performances of fusion traditional Korean music on Thursday. Visitors can also enjoy group rope jumping, which has become one of the most popular events there during holiday seasons. For more information, call (02) 509-6000 or visit http://www.seoulland.co.kr.
The Korean Folk Village in Yongin, Gyeonggi Province will offer a slew of activities designed to encourage visitors to experience traditional seasonal customs. Agricultural equipment that was used to harvest grain and crops will also be displayed so they can get some hands-on experience of operating them. For more information, call (031) 288-2941 or log on to http://www.koreanfolk.co.kr.