Among the many Dano festivals across the country, Gangneung’s Danoje Festival, which will run for eight days starting from June 2, is a must-see event in Korea. (Click here to visit the Gangneung Danoje Festival homepage in Korean and English)
The festival is considered one of the most important and historically rich events in Korea, dating back to the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392). UNESCO added the festival to its list of masterpieces of human tradition and intangible cultural heritage in 2005, and it has also been designated important intangible cultural property No. 13 by the Korean government.
|(From left to right) Daegwallyeong Sanshinje, a traditional ritual to herald the beginning of Gangneung Dano Festival, was held on May 17. (Yonhap News) // Gwanno mask dance|
This year, Gangneung has increased the scale and variety of events, offering nearly 70 different programs, including folk plays, traditional cultural performances and a street parade.
On June 4, about 6,000 people from nearly 30 teams will participate in the Yeongsin Haengcha street parade, double the number of participants from last year.
Other main major events include Yeongsinje, a ritual that enshrines the festival’s two gods, on June 4, a Gwanno mask dance performance and parade and the Songsinje ritual bidding farewell to the gods at the Danojang Altar on June 9.
Visitors will also be able to enjoy various traditional activities, including swings, washing their hair in iris water, ssireum (traditional Korean wrestling), making traditional Dano recipes and learning how to perform the Gwanno mask dance. Traditional folk game venues will also be set up around the festival grounds, allowing people to try games like tuho, where people try to throw arrows into a jar, and yunnori, a board game played with marked sticks instead of dice.
There will also be a wide variety of performances by cultural performers from China, Samoa, Russia and Vietnam.