Hanbok & Festivals

Festivals and Holidays play a hugely impactful role in the sustenance and longevity of cultural traditions, beliefs and practices that a country upholds and uplifts as a mirrored image and reputation to the whole world. 

As a means of emphasis, the celebration of every festival and holiday is in great dependence as to what is its meaning and purpose, its date, month and day, and most importantly, its significance in the country as a whole as to which it is dedicated in entirety.

In this article, we will discuss both the relevance and significance of wearing the Hanbok, in terms of the celebration of the different festivals and holidays in Korea and how it has contributed to the in-depth meaning of each of the highly regarded festivals and holidays in the country. Let us begin.  

The Top 3 Korean Festivals and Holidays to Wear Hanbok For 

Here are the major Korean festivals and holidays that require the wearing and the usage of the Hanbok in every Korean individual, who takes pride and honor as he or she lives in this beautifully amazing and magnificent country as follows: 

1. Dano Korean Festival: “Gangneung Danoje Festival”

The Dano Korean Festival is one of the traditional festivals in Korea wherein its popularity has made a name in every Korean family and household. 

This national holiday, which is ladened to be amazingly beautiful, is commemorated every fifth day of the fifth month of the Lunar Korean Calendar, respectively.  The locals of Korea are depicted to be in great rejoicement and utmost vigor, in terms of celebrating the Dano Korean Festival for the reason that is nationally declared as national holiday throughout the whole country. 

The Koreans wear the Hanbok during the celebration of the Dano Festival, for the reason that the festival itself brims in innermost cultural significance and relevance, so to speak. 

As an overview of the entire festival, the Korean women wash their hair, with the use of water that is immensely boiled with a sweet flag, in order to provide the woman’s hair with a lustrous shine. 

On the other hand, the localities dress up themselves in   red and blue and incorporate the wearing of iris roots for the reason that it waves off evil spirits and bad luck from the entire body of the wearer. In addition, another highlight of the Dano Korean Festival is the playing of the traditional folk games which includes the stone battle and swing, to name a few. 

Lastly, aside from the playing of the traditional folk games, every Korean individual is given the opportunity to enjoy the indulgence and savory impressions that the local food of Korea brings, and these are assurances that can be tasted through the herb rice cakes, Ssuk Tteok and Surichitteok, respectively. 

2. The Seollal: The Korean New Year Celebration

The Seollal is worldly known as the celebration of the Korean Lunar New Year which is commemorated during the first day of the Lunar Korean Calendar. 

The Seollal is one of the highly anticipated and celebrated festivals in Korea that every Korean individual is looking forward to that is filled with utmost rejoicement and merriment. 

The Korean People begins the celebration of the Seollal with the performance of the ancestral rites, as well as in giving tributes to the people and individuals who are highly regarded with utmost respect.  The traditional Korean Hanbok is worn by every Korean individual, regardless of children and adults during the Seollal, as a means of giving one’s self an identical imprint and trademark of being a proud Korean in entirety. 

In another point of view and perspective, as a means of celebrating the Seollal, the locals of the nation get to experience the following opportunities as follows: 

  • First, the locals of Korea wear dresses that are of traditional origin; and second, the locals of Korea enjoy the sumptuous taste of authentic and traditional Korean food.
  • Third, the locals of Korea play traditional folk games that promote enjoyment and happiness; and fourth and most importantly, listening to folk tales that are highly interesting and adventurous in origin, as a whole. 
  • Lastly, the main and vivid highlight of the Seollal is the exchange of the locals of Korea which are performed through greetings, wishes, gifts, blessings and sweets.

The Chuseok: The Harvest Festival of Korea 

The Chuseok is highly regarded in Korea as one of the most poignant holidays that Koreans look forward to every year, as a time wherein they reconnect, reminisce and reunite with the extended members of their respective family, that live in the respective provinces of Korea, so to speak. 

In the most literal sense, the Chuseok is defined as “night with the best autumn moonlight”, and as a celebration, it is a grandiose day that is filled with relaxation and richness of experiences and memories that will last a lifetime.  This national holiday and festival requires the wearing of the Hanbok, for the reason that it is through this celebration that Koreans brim with pride and honor on the cultural aspect, heritage and significance of the clothing, as far as the Chuseok Festival and Holiday is concerned and placed in the limelight. 

The central purpose and reason of the commemoration of the Chuseok, is centered on the celebration of harvest, which is significantly directed on a homecoming that will lead on the respectful memorial of the family’s ancestors, respectively. In the span of the celebration of the Chuseok, the days are filled with the performance of rites that are in place for the reason that Koreans are imbibed to feel a complete essence on how the Chuseok really is, in a purposeful and commemorative direction, relatively. 

First and foremost is the Charye, which is performed in Korea as a memorial service that is centered on giving honor to the family’s ancestors. The sequential totality of the Charye as a memorial service is held most of the time at the home of the respective family, on the day of the Chuseok, either in a living room or large room, whichever provides the family a bigger space to perform the rite successfully which is between 7am to 10am, respectively . 

As a free choice, Koreans nowadays are given the free will to either wear the traditional Korean Hanbok, or the casual clothes, which is still in great dependence and preference to the Korean individual concerned. Although, some Koreans prefer to wear the Hanbok, as they have the mindset that Culture should remain prevalent and significant up to this day of modernity, so to speak. 

The Charye is followed afterwards with the preparation of the Chuseok foods during the evening of the holiday, which is composed of rice wine, Songpyeon and half-moon shaped rice cakes, that are prepared in a certain manner that is in line with what is practiced as a tradition in Korea. To continue with, the preparation is followed with the gathering of the Korean family and household on the table, as a means of remembering their ancestors, by making a respectful bow, which leads to the start of  the Chuseok feast, respectively. 

Some of the food preferences that the Korean family highly prefers are the Japchae, the Jeon which is the fried Korean pancake, the Korean fried glass noodles and most importantly, the other nationally known Korean dishes that add more flavor and experiential taste experiences in the dinner table of the family, respectively. 

Secondly, is the performance of the rite and traditional ceremony, which is called the Seongmyo is held in a manner wherein Korean families visit the ancestral graves of their ancestors who have already departed, and as a means of paying their respects, the gravesites are cleaned and cleared by the living family by taking out  the weeds and debris.

 

Moreover, the preparation of a simply-ladened rite table follows, wherein the Korean Family bows, as a means of paying respect to the deceased, before eating the prepared food on the table, together as a family. Furthermore, it is an evident reality that during the Chuseok, the cemeteries are fully-packed both by cars and by people, so to speak. 

Lastly, the playing of traditional games follows afterwards,  such as the Yut Nori  for example, serves as an additional highlight in the celebration of the Chuseok, as a whole.  

Holiday or Not, Hanbok is Always in Fashion

With high respects and regard to the other festivals and holidays that are celebrated, observed and commemorated in the country, these three Korean festivals and Holidays that were mentioned and discussed above are the highly regarded festivals and holidays that gives utmost importance to the use of the Hanbok, as a clothing that is worn essentially for observance and commemoration purposes.

In conclusion, it is the hope of the writer of this article that the reader will be well-versed and knowledgeable on the three main festivals and holidays in Korea that gives an immense and in-depth importance on the wearing of the Hanbok, throughout the duration of these festivals and holidays concerned. 

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