October festivals to usher in the autumn

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Oct 4, 2015 - 18:59
  • Updated : Oct 4, 2015 - 19:01
As the leaves begin to turn and nighttime temperatures start to plummet, October in Korea is one of the country’s most outdoor festival-filled months.

For those looking to break out of the capital Seoul and venture beyond the city limits, the peninsula has an endless selection of scenic, interactive, historical and fun-filled cultural festivals worthy of a day trip or a quick weekend getaway.

Busan International Fireworks Festival

Following in the footsteps of Seoul International Fireworks Festival, the bustling port city of Busan will be playing host to its own epic fireworks fanfare with the annual Busan International Fireworks Festival.

The 2014 Busan Fireworks Festival at Gwangalli Beach (Julie Jackson/The Korea Herald)

Held at Gwangalli Beach against the backdrop of Gwangalli Bridge, the two-day event is indescribably dazzling and unforgettably picturesque as one of the largest fireworks festivals in Asia. After the events first showing a decade ago, the festival has grown to become one of Busan’s most highly anticipated festivals, attracting more than 1 million visitors every year.

Needless to say massive crowds are unavoidable. While a majority of visitors head to the beach to get a closer view of the fireworks display, a quick hike up the nearby Mount Hwangnyeongsan also offers tremendous views of the beach and fireworks. This year’s Busan International Fireworks Festival will be held on Oct. 23 and 24. 

Jinju Namgang Yudeung Festival

The annual Jinju Namgang Yudeung Festival in South Gyeongsang Province (Jinju Namgang Yudeung Festival)

Steeped in historical significance, the annual Jinju Namgang Yudeung Festival is a lantern festival held on the Namgang River in Jinju, South Gyeongsang Province.

Along with a wide array of cultural programs, the event’s main highlight is the exquisite display of colorfully decorated lanterns, many of which carry personal notes and wishes from local citizens, as they float along the Namgang River.

The beautiful lantern festival is dedicated to the celebration and remembrance of the Jinjuseong Fortress Battle of the Imjin War, where soldiers warded off Japanese troops from gaining a foothold on the Namgang River. The 2015 Jinju Namgang Yudeung Festival will be held daily until Oct. 11.

Anseong Namsadang Baudeogi Festival

The Anseong Namsadang Baudeogi Festival is a one-of-a-kind festival celebration, honoring Namsadang, the peninsula’s oldest cultural performance troupe. The original, all-male 19th-century troupe came into existence spontaneously during the Joseon Dynasty, with poor local farmers and other low-class men gathering together to perform various cultural performing arts such as acrobatics, singing and dancing for the villagers.

The art form grew into one of the nation’s most pride-filled cultural assets. The group’s traditional performance of Namsadang Nori was eventually included on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Anseong Namsadang Baudeogi Festival runs Oct. 7-11 at the Anseong Matchum Land in Anseong, Gyeonggi Province.

Suwon Hwaseong Cultural Festival

Suwon City’s most iconic attraction Hwaseong Fortress will once again play host to the city’s annual Suwon Hwaseong Cultural Festival. The large fortress, located smack dab in the middle of Suwon, was originally built in the 18th by the King as a show of appreciation and dedication to his father.

In celebration of the history and significance of the UNESCO Heritage Site, Suwon Culture Festival encompasses a series of historical reenactments of Royal Parade of King Jeongjo the Great, as well as featuring a citizen’s parade and fireworks display.

The festivities will be held from Oct. 8-11 at the Hwaseong Haenggung Palace Plaza and Hwaseong Fortress in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province.

Jeonju International Sori Festival

A celebratory event for all things pansori, Jeonju’s International Sori Festival is the place to be to enjoy all that traditional Korean folk singing has to offer. Although the festival is technically listed as a global music fest, it festivities are centered on highlighting the vocal art of pansori.

The five-day festival will feature an abundance of musical performances ranging from folk singing to contemporary opera and will include concerts by the Honbul National Gugak Orchestra, the Ten Tenor’s opera troupe and much more.

The Jeonju International Sori Festival will launch this year will run Oct. 7-11 at the Sori Arts Center and Jeonju Hanok Village in Jeonju, North Jeolla Province. Guests who wish to attend performances must purchase tickets in advance. For more information, visit

By Julie Jackson (