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K-Royal Culture Festival returns with spring edition

By Kim Hae-yeon

Published : April 30, 2023 - 14:33

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A performance marking the K-Royal Culture Festival's opening in front of the Heungnyemun gate at Gyeongbokgung in Seoul, Friday. (Yonhap) A performance marking the K-Royal Culture Festival's opening in front of the Heungnyemun gate at Gyeongbokgung in Seoul, Friday. (Yonhap)

The spring edition of the K-Royal Culture Festival offers a range of programs that can be enjoyed at Seoul's royal palaces through May 7.

The biannual festival showcases a variety of cultural heritage events and artistic performances that take place across five Joseon-era (1392-1910) palaces -- Gyeongbokgung, Changdeokgung, Deoksugung, Changgyeonggung and Gyeonghuigung. Jongmyo, a royal shrine housing the ancestral tablets of Joseon kings and queens, and Sajikdan, a Joseon altar used for praying for a bountiful harvest, will also be joining in the festivities.

Under the theme, "Time Travel: King Yeongjo, Opening Honghwamun Gate," the spring program celebrates the 40th anniversary of the reinstatement of Changgyeonggung's original name with a reenactment of King Yeongjo’s (1694–1776) 50th birthday celebrations. King Yeongjo was the 21st king of Joseon.

During the Japanese colonial era, the palace was turned into a park with a zoo, museum and gardens, and was renamed Changgyeongwon, meaning Changgyeong park.

From Tuesday to Saturday, a series of royal court banquet programs will be available, mainly at Changgyeonggung.

On Tuesday, a drama performance depicting the preparations for King Yeongjo's birthday ceremony will be held at noon and at 3 p.m. The 80-minute performance involving audience participation will also be live-streamed through the K-Royal Culture Festival's official Instagram.

From Wednesday to Friday, visitors can take part in the actual preparations for the court banquet. The hands-on event involves cooking, painting and dancing to traditional music, and will be held three times daily at 10 p.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., at various spots within Changgyeonggung. Those who wish to participate can book a spot through the K-Royal Culture Festival website.

A performance is held to celebrate spring edition of the K-Royal Culture Festival in Changgyeonggung, Seoul, on Friday. (Yonhap) A performance is held to celebrate spring edition of the K-Royal Culture Festival in Changgyeonggung, Seoul, on Friday. (Yonhap)

King Yeongjo's 50th birthday ceremony will be held on Saturday as the festival's finale event at Changgyeonggung's Myeongjeongjeon at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. The 60-minute event is a reenactment, based on historical archives, of the ceremony which took place in 1743.

After the performance, visitors can enjoy a 40-minute event, including a pangut performance by Artaul, a traditional art group, while enjoying traditional dessert and tea. Up to 500 guests can participate in the event on a first-come first-served basis.

Throughout the festival period, Changgyeonggung’s Yeongchunheon Hall is showcasing an augmented reality court attire experience, where visitors can try on clothing worn by people who worked in the royal palaces.

More information on other festival programs such as musicals, parades and children's games can be found at the K-Royal Culture Festival's website.