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Korea is a colourful kaleidoscope. With skyscrapers and mighty monuments, on one hand, the cultural diversity and heritage of the country are also worth experiencing. Its traditions, community, people, rituals, and culture are as gorgeous and spectacular as its natural beauty. To know and experience these whole-heartedly, nothing is as better as the indigenous festivals. While you explore and see the natural aura of the country, try to rejoice some of these famous Korean festivals that give you an in-depth glimpse of the country’s history and heritage.

Famous Korean Festivals

Take a glance at these incredible Korean festivals and witness the native culture. Try to be a part of some of them and indulge in the vibe and spirit of the celebration.

Cultural Festivals In Korea

  • Jeju Fire Festival
  • Jinju Lantern Festival
  • Seongsan Sunrise Festival
  • Hansik
  • Yudu
  • Seollal
  • Dano
  • Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival
  • Boryeong Mud Festival
  • Gwangju World Culture Kimchi Festival

Music Festivals In Korea

  • Ultra Korea
  • Busan One Asia Festival

Cultural Festivals In Korea

Here are some of the most popular cultural festivals in Korea that you can be a part of:

1. Jeju Fire Festival- Welcoming Best Of Health & Harvest

Welcoming Best Of Health & Harvest

This is one of the most famous festivals in Korean celebrated over 3 days in late February and March. The beautiful city of Jeju is set ablaze to pray for and welcome the new year with good health, happiness, and ample harvest. It symbolizes the ancient ritual of burning old grass to get rid of vermin before resuming the next farming season. This is a unique celebration and the sight of the hilly city on fire looks dazzling and stunning. The festival is also celebrated with folk dance, torch march, and tribal games and activities.

Location: Jeju Island
Date: Annually on Feb/Mar (TBA)

Must Read: 28 Best Places To Visit In South Korea

2. Jinju Lantern Festival- Make A Wish

Make A Wish

Popularly famed as Jinju Namgang Yudeung Festival, this is one of the oldest festivals in Korea, that showcases the country’s traditions and culture. The native people lit thousands of red lanterns by the bank of Nam River and make wishes for the well-being, health, and prosperity of their near and dear ones. The custom started way back in 1592, iconizing with the custom of lighting lanterns to avoid Japanese troops from commuting the Namgang River during the Japanese invasion period. Hence these lanterns also pay tribute to the Jinjuseong Fortress Battle veterans. Along with the surreal sight of innumerable lit lanterns, one can enjoy the street parades, performances, local street food and even make their own lantern and hang them in the Tunnel Of Wish Lanterns.

Location: Jinju
Date: Feb 5, 2023

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3. Seongsan Sunrise Festival- Welcoming The New Year

Welcoming The New Year

Every year, on the first day, local people hike up to the Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak, locally called Sunrise Peak to witness the first rays of the Sun of the year and wish happiness, health, and prosperity for all. Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak is one of the most beautiful viewpoints of Korea, known for a jaw-dropping view of the surrounding and listed by UNESCO as a World Nature Heritage Site. Seongsan Sunrise Festival commences on New Year’s Eve with a nature trail, torch rally and folk dance and music by local artists and midnight fireworks.

Location: Seongsan Ilchulbong, Sunrise Peak- Jeju
Date: 31st Dec – 2nd January

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4. Hansik- In Memory Of The Ancestors

In Memory Of The Ancestors

Hansik festival is popular as the Cold Food Festival. On this day, the local people indulge in non-fire cooking and consume cold food throughout the day. As per Korean mythology, the entire country performs sacrificial rites at Jongmyo the Royal Shrine and Neungwon. Local people hold their personal memorial services and visit their families’ ancestral graves. People also plant trees around the grave and offer prayers. Hansik festival marks the beginning of the farming season and the farmers also spread seeds from the farmhouse to commence agriculture.

Location: South Korea
Date: TBA

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5. Yudu- A Unique Celebration

A Unique Celebration

Yudu is one of the most unique festivals in Korea. Here the local households offer the first harvest of the season to God and initiate gathering crops and fruits as their annual household stock. One of the most unconventional features of Yudu festival is that the locals visit any nearby streams to wash their hair to remove all bad spirits and bad luck from their lives. As Yudu is celebrated in peak summer, people rejoice at the festival by indulging with ginseng chicken broth and other healthy soups.

Location: South Korea
Date: TBA

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6. Seollal- Happy New Year

Happy New Year

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Seolnal is the Korean new year and celebrated on the first day of the Korean calendar. This is one of the celebrated Korean festivals rejoiced by the entire country. People start their celebration by performing ancestral rites and paying tributes to them. The locals wear traditional dresses, eat authentic traditional food, play folk games and listen to folk tales. Everyone greets each other, exchange wishes and blessings and gifts and sweets.

Location: South Korea
Date: February

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7. Dano- A Beautiful Korean Tradition

A Beautiful Korean Tradition

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Like other traditional festivals in Korea, Dano is a popular name. Local people rejoice with full vigor and it is declared as a national holiday in the country. Women wash their hair in water boiled with a sweet flag to give it a shiny luster. The local people dress up in red and blue and wear iris roots to wave off bad luck and evil spirits from the body. People enjoy traditional folk games like swing and stone battle and indulge with local food like surichitteok, ssuk tteok, and herb rice cakes.

Location: South Korea
Date: TBA

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8. Hwacheon Sancheoneo- Ice Festival

Ice Festival

Set in a frozen river of Gangwon Province of Hwacheon County, it is another Korean festival that is exciting and mesmerizing. Here, people walk through the sub-zero temperature for trout fishing. Mane of them even catches fish with bare hands from the drilled ice holes. This is one of the most popular winter festivals of Korea, celebrated widely. Along with ice fishing, other activities of this festival are snowman building, snow tunnel and snow slide building, ice sled and ice soccer.

Location: Hwacheon County
Date: TBA

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9. Boryeong Mud Festival- Messiness Creates Happiness

Messiness Creates Happiness

Organised at Daecheon Beach, thousands of people gather together once a year and enjoy dancing, sliding and wrestling in mud. Sounds messy? Actually not! The festival started in the 90s to promote the therapeutic benefits of mineral-rich mud but presently the festival is celebrated with a variety of activities and adventures that induce delight, and excitement for all. Mud wrestling, firework, mudslides, and mud king competition are some of the highlights. One can even enjoy eclectic music concerts by talented KPop artists which add extra zeal to the celebration.

Location: Daecheon Beach, Boryeong-si
Date: TBA

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10. Gwangju World Culture Kimchi Festival

Gwangju World Culture Kimchi Festival

As one of the renowned food festivals in Korea, Gwangju World Culture Kimchi Festival features various activities related to kimchi. From kimchi-making competition, painting to Kimchi master contest and cooking classes; everything there is delightful and exciting. One can even experience a sprawling Kimchi market and pick exotic varieties of Kimchi from the world.

Location: Gwangju
Date: October

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Music Festivals In Korea

Here are some the most lively music festivals in Korea that you just cant afford to miss if you are a music lover: 

11. Ultra Korea- You Cannot Resist Dancing

You Cannot Resist Dancing

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Ultra Korea is not only one of the popular music festivals in Korea but the world. It is also the first ever music festival in Asia. With a dazzling showcase by globally reputed EDM artists, this music carnival makes everyone sing, sway in happiness and tap their feet. This eclectic festival brings all the music enthusiasts together for a couple of days from various parts of the world. Undoubtedly this is the grandest and most happening music festival of the country.

Location: Seoul
Date: 26th to 28th March

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12. Busan One Asia Festival- Seamless Blend Of Music Culture

Seamless Blend Of Music Culture

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Busan One Asia Festival is another delight for music lovers. It is a famous Korean pop music carnival and one can enjoy the incredible stage performances. Being one of the most happening Korean festivals of 2019, it saw performers like A Pink, Black Pink, iKon, Wanna One, Momoland and SF9, NU’EST W. The festival allows all to get a detailed glimpse of Korean pop culture through concerts, exhibitions, and fan meetings. The music festival of Korea presents fusion music and music forms of other Asian countries.

Location: Busan
Date: (Date yet to be announced)

Further Read: 26 Places To Visit In Korea During Winter That Would Hook You With Their Charm

Planning a holiday in Korea with Travel Triangle? Plan in such a way so that you witness some of the famous Korean festivals, which are nothing less than the experience of the lifetime.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Korean Festivals

Name the popular music festivals in Korea?

The popular music festivals in Korea are UItra Music, Purple Cow Music Festival and World DJ Festival.

Which is the oldest festival in Korea?

The oldest festival in Korea is Jinju Lantern Festival which started in 1592.

Which are the most famous festivals in Korea?

The most famous festivals in Korea are Bonfire Festival, Wangin Culture Festival, Chuseok- Harvest moon festival and Busan One Asia Festival.

Name the tribal festivals in Korea.

Samjinnal, Hansik, Dano, Yudu, and Sambok are the popular tribal festivals in Korea.

Which is the best time to visit Korea?

The best time to visit Korea in the spring and autumn. April to June and September to November is the best time to explore Korea.

Why do people prefer South Korea over the North?

North Korea is vastly uninhabited with minimal economic development. On the contrary, South Korea is vastly developed with industries, commercialisation, and tourism.

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Category: Events And Festivals, Korea

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