Mask and Fireworks Festivals
*Note: I didn’t have a working camera for a couple weeks because my battery charger broke, also my phone is a piece of p-o-o-p…hence the very limited pictures.
Andong Mask Festival
Last year, Luke and I went to the Andong Mask Festival with our coworkers. Luke made a mask, we bought some super legit and fancy soju and had a blast. This year, because we loved it so much, we wanted to go back again. It was quite far so the trip wasn’t ideal, but we’re a bit more spoiled this year being in a city with lots of things near by.
When we arrived, we immediately stopped to watch some really cool Taekwondo performances. The first was a group of kids around the ages of 6-15 and their performance was very theatrical and patriotic. It was a little intense, but pretty cool to watch. The next was a group of really young kids, maybe 4-12, who lined up with help from their older teammates and coach. All of a sudden “Happy” by Pharrell comes on the speakers and the little nuggets start “warming up” and stretching to the beat of the song. So cute!! Later on, their older teammates come out from behind the stage and go around holding boards for each of them to break with their hands. About half of them had to try a few times because they couldn’t quite get it. When they were finished, their older teammates came out to perform. They did some “dance” Taekwondo as well, but ended with a jaw-dropping series of wood panels breaking left and right. People were jumping off of other people and kicking three in the air at the same time. It was incredible.
Once the performances were over, we walked around a bit and checked out the many booths of souvenirs and activities to participate in. I opted for the kid’s mask making booth that Luke and our friend Sam did last year. It was a fun craft and a cheap souvenir to bring back home. Around this time, we met up with our friends who live on the other side of the country from us! It’s always a treat getting to see them, so we walked around and enjoyed other parts of the festival and then headed to a special Andong Jjimdak dinner which is Luke’s favorite Korean meal!
I realize the placement of the pole in these pictures is not ideal…don’t be spoiled. 😜
Every year, Seoul holds a fireworks festival along the Hangang River. The festival is said to have over 100,000 fireworks and this year, there were three 20-minute firework sessions each lit by one of three countries - Spain, Canada and Korea. Coming from Louisville where one of my favorite events of the year is Thunder Over Louisville - some might call me a firework snob. But this show was truly great!
We arrived to the area in the evening just minutes before the fireworks began. We were hoping to meet up with some friends, but the crowds were ridiculously packed. There was no physical way to reach them as the roads, sidewalks and everything in between was crammed with people. We were able to find about five feet of space between people on the ground where we sat down for the rest of the show.
There were soooo many fireworks, and kinds I had never seen before! There were some that exploded, then instead of falling down from the sky like normal, it would explode again into two or three more fireworks! Probably one of our favorite parts of the whole night was when there were fireworks of all different shapes - even smiley faces which, when they would go off, the entire crowd around us would cheer, “Suh-mile!” haha it was so cute!
At the end of the show, thousands of people hurried away back to their homes for the night, while others decided to stay around enjoying the nice weather and waiting for the crowd to die down. There were so many food trucks and street vendors there as well as beer and cocktails, so we grabbed a meat stick and a brewsky for each of us before eventually heading back home.