Korean Festivals – Music & Food Events in the South

Last Updated on September 10, 2021 by 90 Day Korean
Korean women wearing hanbok performing in a festival

Korean Festivals attract many tourists from all over the world to South Korea. That’s because Korea offers plenty of fun and unique festivals for tourists to experience. Whether you’re looking for delicious food, seasonal drinks, or festive music, read on below for the festivals to look forward to. Start making a plan for which festivals you’re going to hit for your next travel adventure.

There’s something for everybody, so don’t be surprised if you’re tempted to hit them all. Read on to find out about the best Korean festivals!

Korean Festivals

Fall Festivals in Korea

Jarasum Jazz Festival

One of the larger fall Korean festivals, the Jarasum Jazz Festival is a festival held in early October on Jaraseom Island and attracts over 100,000 music lovers every year.

Korean Festival Jarasum Jazz Festival

Photo credit: http://packagekorea.com

Hosting both Korean and international jazz artists, this festival can promise two days of smooth jazz played by some of the best jazz talent in the world.

Korean: 자라섬 국제 재즈 페스티벌 (jaraseom gukje jaejeu peseutibeol)

Festival Dates: October

Website: Jarasum Jazz Festival

Masan Gagopa Chrysanthemum Festival

Another crowd favorite, the Masan Gagopa Crysanthemum Festival is a chance to gather and take in the natural beauty of the Masan district.

Masan Gagopa Chrysanthemum Festival

Photo credit: http://thepoughkeepsie.wordpress.com

The festival happens the last week of October and is centered on the beauty of the chrysanthemum, a flower that the Masan district is famous for cultivating. If you happen to be in Masan, take the opportunity to stop and smell the roses – or the chrysanthemums!

Korean: 마산 가고파국화축제 (masan gagopagukwachukje)

Festival Dates: October

Website: Masan Gagopa Chrysanthemum Festival

Ganggyeong Fermented Seafood Festival

If eating delicious food prepared by multiple, talented chefs is something you enjoy, then the Ganggyeong Fermented Seafood Festival is the festival for you.

Ganggyeong Fermented Seafood Festival

Photo credit: http://www.koreaherald.com

The name of the festival is a literal one — it’s a gathering of people in the city of Ganggyeong to eat (and learn to prepare) a variety of fermented seafood, something that Ganggyeong is notoriously good at. Held mid-October every year, the festival draws visitors from all over Korea and is definitely worth your time. You’ll be happy you stopped by – and so will your stomach!

Korean: 강경 발효젓갈축제 (ganggyeong balhyojeotgalchukje)

Festival Dates:  October

Website: Ganggyeong Fermented Seafood Festival

Pyeongchang Hyoseok Cultural Festival 

The Hyoseok Cultural Festival, located in Pyeongchang, is a local festival meant to celebrate the author Lee Hyo-seok. Lee Hyo-seok wrote the critically acclaimed novel When Buckwheat Flowers Come Into Full Bloom, which paints a colorful picture of life in Pyeongchang.

Pyeongchang Hyoseok Cultural Festival

Photo credit: http://www.packagekorea.com

The festival is a celebration of life in the Korean county and the folklore that makes Pyeongchang different from other parts of Korea. The festival is a celebration of culture and literature, and it provides a variety of literary contests and programs for festival-goers to take part in. The festival usually takes place during the first week of September so make sure you don’t miss it!

Korean: 평창 효석문화제 (pyeongchang hyoseongmunhwaje)

Festival Dates: October

Website: Pyeongchang Hyoseok Cultural Festival

Wanju Wild Food Festival 

The Wanju Wild Food Festival is a festival that brings together lovers of food, nature, and sustainability. The festival was originally put together to highlight all of the awesome aspects of Wanju – therefore, the food that is provided at the festival incorporates locally grown produce and locally raised and butchered meats and seafood.

Wanju Wild Food Festival

Photo credit: http://visitkorea.or.kr

Through eating food comprised of mostly wild, unprocessed ingredients, chefs hope to make festival attendees look back and reminisce about simpler times. If eating food, spending time outdoors, and learning about wildlife sounds like something you’d be interested in, don’t miss this festival!

Korean: 완주와일드푸드축제 (wanjuwaildeupudeuchukje)

Festival Dates: October

Website: Wanju Wild Food Festival

Sunchang Fermented Soybean Festival

The Sunchang Fermented Soybean Festival is an annual celebration of the residents of the village of Sunchang and the fermented red-pepper paste that the village is famous for producing. The red-pepper paste has health benefits that are thought to be linked to the trend of village residents living long, healthy lives.

Sunchang Fermented Soybean Festival

Photo credit: http://visitkorea.ko.or

The festival hosts a cooking competition, a demonstration of making the fermented paste, and several traditional outdoor performances. Stop by and check it out – maybe you’ll even reap some of the health benefits of consuming the delicious paste!

Korean: 순창장류축제 (sunchangjangnyuchukje)

Festival Dates: October

Website: Sunchang Fermented Soybean Festival

Yeoju Ogok Naru Festival 

The Yeoju Ogok Naru Festival is an agricultural festival that is thrown to celebrate the two most fruitful agricultural products of Yeoju: sweet potato and rice. A variety of programs are put together to meant to inform festival attendees (and make them hungry!).

Yeoju Ogok Naru Festival

Photo credit: http://koreaye.org

This festival takes place at the very end of October and is full of fun activities that celebrate the bountiful harvest of the fall months. If you’re a fan of outdoor festivals that can teach you something, the Yeoju Ogok Naru festival is what you’re looking for.

Korean: 여주오곡나루축제 (yeojuogongnaruchukje)

Festival Dates: October

Website: Yeoju Ogok Naru Festival

Hyo Culture Ppuri Festival

If you’re in the Daejeon area in the fall and want to witness some traditional Korean ceremonies, then you’ll want to check out the Hyo Culture Ppuri Festival! In addition, you’ll get to experience a parade, tasty street food, and a fusion music performance.

Hyo Culture Ppuri Festival

Photo credit: http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/

Korean: 대전 효문화뿌리축제 (daejeon hyomunhwappurichukje)

Festival Dates: October

Website: Hyo Culture Ppuri Festival

7080 Chungjang Recollection Festival

Another popular and unique Gwangsan-gu festival is the 7080 Chungjang Recollection Festival, which is centered around reviving the culture of the ‘70’s and the ‘80’s that thrived on Chungjang-ro Street.

7080 Chungjang Recollection Festival

Photo credit: http://koreapost.com

Locals use food, drink, and a parade to resurrect the youthful, rebellious spirit of these colorful decades. Come join Chungjang-gu locals from October 7th to the 11th and get a taste of the fun and prosperity that the area reveled in thirty years ago!

Korean: 추억의 7080 충장축제 (chueogui chilgongpalgong chungjangchukje)

Festival Dates: October

Website: 7080 Chungjang Recollection Festival

Andong Mask Dance Festival 

If you like masks and dancing, then you’re going to want to pack your bags and head over to the Andong Mask Dance Festival in October! Not only will you get to see the historic area of Andong, but you’ll also experience mask dances from all over the world.

Andong Mask Festival

Photo credit: http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/

Can’t sit still? Not to worry! Mask dance lessons are available for international visitors, so you can join in on the fun, too!

Korean: 안동국제탈춤페스티벌 (andonggukjetalchumpeseutibeol)

Festival Dates: Last week of September

Website: Andong Mask Dance Festival

Jinju Namgang Yudeung Lantern Festival

Looking for an event to brighten up the fall season? Then the Jinju Namgang Yudeung Festival may be exactly what you need.

Jinju Lantern Festival

Photo credit: http://www.visitkorea.or.kr/

Join the crown of light lovers in Jinju city for lantern making, floating lanterns on the river, fireworks, and lots more!

Korean: 진주 남강유등축제 (jinju namgangyudeungchukje)

Festival Dates: October

Website: Jinju Namgang Yudeung Lantern Festival

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Winter Festivals in Korea

The Garden of the Morning Calm Lighting Festival

If you’re staying in Seoul this winter, the lighting festival at The Garden of the Morning Calm is definitely worth making the one-hour trek for. The garden is as beautiful as the name suggests – home to thousands of plants, the garden is full of beautiful walkways and scenic displays that are lovely to explore no matter what time of year you’re visiting.

Winter Korean Festivals

Photo credit: http://morethanapage.com

The garden grows more beautifully in the winter because the property is decorated with a seemingly infinite number of sparkling LED lights that make it feel like a true winter wonderland. Bundle up, and bring the whole family out to see the lights at the Garden of the Morning Calm this year – it’s the perfect activity to get everybody in the holiday spirit!

Korean: 아침고요수목원 오색별빛정원전  (achimgoyosumogwon osaekbyeolbitjeongwonjeon)

Festival Dates: December – March

Website: The Garden of the Morning Calm

The Pyeongchang Trout Festival

Are twinkling lights not really your style? Are you looking for a different, more rugged type of activity to get you in the mood for winter? If so, look no further than the Pyeongchang Trout Festival which is centered around – you guessed it – all things trout-related.

Winter Korean Festivals

Photo credit: http://www.sweettravelkorea.com

The main attraction at this festival is jumping into pools of frigid water to attempt to catch fish with your hands before they get numb (or frostbitten), so you can bet that only the toughest are successful. If bare-handed fish-catching isn’t exactly your style, fear not – there’s also traditional fishing (with poles), snow rafting, and a bunch of additional winter activities that you can do with mittens on.

Korean: 평창송어축제 (pyeongchangsongeochukje)

Festival Dates: December – January

Website: Pyeongchang Trout Festival

The Herb Island Light & Fairy Tale Story Festival 

What do you think of when you think of winter? If Santa, sleigh bells, and thousands of holiday lights are your style, be sure to check out the Light & Fairy Tale Story Festival that happens annually at Pocheon Herb Island. This festival is similar to The Garden of the Morning Calm Lighting Festival in that the focal point is the beautiful, twinkling LED lights, but the Herb Island festival also features hundreds of Santas that gather in Santa’s Village to add an additional holiday element to the festival.

Herb Island Light & Fairy Tale Story Festival

Photo credit: http://www.visitkorea.or.kr

If you don’t get in the holiday spirit until you see the jolly old man in red, this is definitely the festival for you. The island is also home to a number of spas and luxurious getaways, so make a weekend out of it and relax while you ease yourself into winter!

Korean: 허브아일랜드 가을불빛동화축제(heobeuaillaendeu gaeulbulbitdonghwachukje)

Festival Dates: November – December

Website: The Herb Island Light & Fairy Tale Story Festival

The Homigot Sunrise Festival

Unlike the above festivals that occur over the course of several weeks or months, the famous Homigot Sunrise Festival only occurs on the first of the year, so make sure you mark your calendars!  If you didn’t know, Korea is a peninsula, and Homigot is on the eastern-most tip of the peninsula. This helps make the Sunrise Festival as popular as it is – Homigot is the first area on the peninsula to see the sun come up!

Large arm and hand coming out of the ocean

Photo credit: http://www.seoulselection.com

If you have a chance to check out this festival, you’ll see a bunch of fun concerts and cultural performances that will make your New Year’s Eve a truly unforgettable experience. Bundle up and make your way out to Homigot and ring in the New Year the right way!

Korean: 호미곶 한민족 해맞이축전 (homigot hanminjok haemajichukjeon)

Festival Dates: December

Website: Homigot Sunrise Festival

Taebaek Mountain Snow Festival 

It doesn’t get much more “winter” than a festival centered around the beauty of snow and all that you can do with it. Come check out the magnificent snow sculptures at this celebration of winter – the artists go all out and create intricate scenes using only snow, so they definitely put simple snowmen to shame.

Korean admiral and a dragon carved out of snow and ice

Photo credit: http://www.visitkorea.or.kr

After you’ve scoped out all of the snow creations, there are also plenty of concerts, performances, and opportunities to karaoke occurring throughout the town to keep the celebration going late into the night. Definitely add this festival to your list if you’ve made it through the holidays and you still can’t get enough of winter!

Korean: 태백산눈축제 (taebaeksannunchukje)

Festival Dates:  January

Website: Taebaek Mountain Snow Festival

Location: Taebaeksi, Gangwondo

Spring Festivals in Korea

Cherry Blossom Festival

Spring in Korea is almost defined by cherry blossoms, and this festival is undoubtedly one of Korea’s most popular festivals. People will travel the length of the country, and even from abroad, to take pictures in front of the most photogenic trees during the cherry blossom. The beautiful blooms on Cherry Blossom trees make Korea famous all over the world, so it’s no wonder that this festival is one of the most popular springtime festivals in the country.

Cherry blossom in Korea

Korean: 벚꽃 축제 (beotkkot chukje)

Festival Dates: April

Although the cherry blossom only lasts in each location for a very short period of time, its spread from south to north takes around a month or so. Therefore, you will have several opportunities to enjoy the festival, so you don’t have to worry too much about timing your trip perfectly as long as you’ll be in Korea at some point in April.

Unlike many Korean festivals that happen in just one location, there are cherry blossom festivals all over the country. The most famous ones are in Jinhae (Jinhae Gunhangje Festival – 진해군항제 | jinhaegunhangje) and Gyeongju (Gyeongju Cherry Blossom Festival – 경주 벚꽃축제 | gyeongju beotkkotchukje) in the south of the country. This is especially convenient because it means no matter where in Korea you choose to travel, you’re likely to be close enough to a Cherry Blossom festival to enjoy the beauty of the blossoms.

In Seoul, there is a large cherry blossom festival on Yeouido (Yeongdeungpo Yeouido Spring Flower Festival – 영등포 여의도 봄꽃축제 | yeongdeungpo yeouido bomkkotchukje). If you want to take some great pictures but want to avoid the crowds, then there are plenty of other spots around Seoul where you can take some great pictures without dealing with the chaos that comes along with navigating a large city festival. University campuses such as Kyunghee University in northern Seoul are usually quieter and less crowded than Yeouido.

For more information on cherry blossoms in Korea, check out this article!

Seoul Lotus Lantern Festival

The Seoul Lotus Lantern Festival takes place in spring to coincide with Buddha’s birthday. In the evening, thousands of people walk along Jong-ro, a major street in central Seoul, each holding a lantern and creating a magnificent sight to behold for passerby.

Lantern festival in Korea

The parade starts at Dongguk University, and ends at Jogyesa temple near Insadong. As well as people carrying lanterns, there are also large paper sculptures in the parade, such as fish and dragons. This parade is full of unique Korean beauty and artistry, so it’s a must-see if you happen to be in the area in May.

If you don’t have the chance to see the parade for yourself, then try and visit Jogyesa temple or Cheongye stream during the week to see the paper lanterns on display after the fact.

Korean: 연등회 (yeondeunghoe)

Festival Dates: May

Website: Lotus Lantern Festival

Summer Festivals in Korea

The Gwangju Toechon Tomato Festival

Toechon is known for the tomato crop native to the region, and locals and tourists alike join together to celebrate the amazing fruit during this festival unlike any other (yes, tomatoes are fruit!).

Gwangju Toechon Tomato Festival

Photo credit: http://visitkorea.or.kr

A variety of activities take place at the Tomato Festival including picking tomatoes, learning to craft (or purchase) a variety of tomato-based products, and swimming in a giant pool full of tomatoes and tomato juice. Yes, you read that right! Check out this festival if you’re a tomato fan, and please tell us your experience in the comments below if you’ve actually swam in the tomato pool!

Korean: 퇴촌토마토축제 (toechontomatochukje)

Festival Dates: June

Website: Gwangju Toechon Tomato Festival

Boryeong Mud Festival

If you survived the aforementioned Tomato Festival and swimming in a pool full of tomato juice wasn’t crazy enough for you, be sure to check out the Boryeong Mud Festival, a true highlight of summertime in South Korea. This festival takes place on a beach and is supposedly motivated by the health and beauty benefits related to lathering up in this thick, cold mud. If you ask me, it’s really just an excuse to get down and dirty and cross covering yourself in mud from head to toe off of your bucket list!

Korean Summer Festival Boryeong Mud Festival

Photo credit: http://roughguides.com

Check out the Boryeong Mud Festival if you’re in the area and feeling adventurous, but be sure to wear clothes you’re not super attached to. This mud is notoriously difficult to get completely out of clothing!

Korean: 보령머드축제 (boryeongmeodeuchukje)

Festival Dates:  July

Website: Boryeong Mud Festival

Pentaport Rock Festival

Pentaport Rock Festival is one of the biggest international music festivals hosted in all of Asia during summertime, and it is DEFINITELY worth checking out if you’re a fan of energetic crowds and fun rock music. Fall Out Boy, The Monkees, and Suede have all played in recent years – talk about an amazing lineup!

Pentaport Rock Festival

Photo credit: http://keterin.com

This festival is super easy to access via public transportation, so you won’t have to worry about finding parking or dealing with intoxicated drivers after the night is over. Check out Pentaport Rock Festival, and give crowd surfing a try if it feels right!

Korean: 인천 펜타포트 락페스티벌 (incheon pentapoteu rakpeseutibeol)

Bestival Dates:  August

Website: Pentaport Rock Festival

Haeundae Sand Festival

It doesn’t get more “summer” than the Haeundae Sand Festival. This festival celebrates all things summer, ocean, and most importantly, sand!

Haeundae Sand Festival

Photo credit: http://visitkorea.or.kr

You’ll find sand sculptures, beach volleyball, sand baths, and a bunch of other activities that are guaranteed to leave you covered in sand and in love with summer. Take a couple of days to enjoy the Sand Festival and then some rest & relaxation in this popular beach destination – you deserve it!

Korean: 해운대 모래축제 (haeundae moraechukje)

Festival Dates:  May

Website: Haeundae Sand Festival

The Buyeo Seodong Lotus Festival

As a huge flower lover myself, I can always appreciate a festival centered around blooming wildlife like the Buyeo Seodong Lotus Festival. The Lotus Festival is home to sprawling displays of bright, beautiful lotus blossoms as fun, food, and crafts for the entire family.

Korean Summer Festivals Buyeo Seodong Lotus Festival

Photo credit: http://myseoulyourseoul.wordpress.com

Checking out this festival means spending the day making lotus-inspired beauty products, paper flowers, and learning about wildflower preservation. Bring the whole family, because there’s something for everybody!

Korean: 부여서동 연꽃축제 (buyeoseodong yeonkkotchukje)

Festival Dates: July

Website: Buyeo Seodong Lotus Festival

Gangneung Danoje Festival

If you’re looking for a festival that will teach you something new about an aspect of South Korean culture, look no further than the Gangneung Danoje Festival, an annual celebration of the rich and vibrant culture of the Joseon Dynasty.

 

Korean Summer Festival Gangneung Danoje Festival

Photo credit: http://pocketwifikorea.com

The Danoje Festival is pretty traditional as far as festivals go – it features traditional Korean food, art, and even puts on traditional Korean wedding etiquette displays! Gangneung is also a beautiful area and perfect for beach lounging, so you can easily turn experiencing this fun, historic festival into an extended beach vacation.

Korean: 강릉 단오제 (gangneung danoje)

Festival Dates: June

Website: Gangneung Danoje Festival

Pohang International Fireworks Festival

Nothing makes me think of summer quicker than the smell, sound, and beauty of a fireworks display! People come from all over the world to enjoy the Pohang International Fireworks Festival, which celebrates the magic of fireworks with competitions, parades, and fireworks shows set to music performances.

Korean Summer Festival Pohang International Fireworks Festival

Photo credit: http://trazy.com

Pohang is known as “The City of Light and Fire,” so it’s only fitting that this out-of-this-world fireworks festival is hosted in this beautiful beach town. Be sure to check out this festival this summer and practice your fireworks photography!

Korean: 포항 국제불빛축제 (pohang gukjebulbitchukje)

Festival Dates: July

Website: Pohang International Fireworks Festival

Muju Firefly Festival 

Do you remember catching fireflies as a child? It’s an activity that felt so magical, so carefree, and so summer. That’s the type of feeling that the Muju Firefly Festival captures for millions (that’s right – MILLIONS) of attendees every year.

Muju Firefly Festival

Photo credit: http://onedaykorea.com

This festival is one of the most popular summer festivals in the country, and it celebrates light, laughter, and spending warm summer nights with the people you hold near and dear. Be sure to stop by this festival to check out traditional performances and concerts as well as fireflies, of course!

Korean: 무주 반딧불축제 (muju banditbulchukje)

Festival Dates: September

Website: Muju Firefly Festival

Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival 

If you’d rather enjoy a summer festival that boasts air conditioning rather than allowing your makeup to melt off, the Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival is the festival for you! This festival focuses on up and coming movies ranging from live action to documentary to video game and animation, so there’s something for everybody and a ton to experience. Check out this festival and enjoy the excitement of summer without the heat that comes with it!

Korean Summer Festival Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival

Photo credit: http://visitkorea.or.kr

If you have to explore Korea, use this festival guide to help you get to know a beautiful season in an exciting country. There’s truly something for everybody, so whether you want to be trekking through ice and snow outside or enjoying winter beauty from the comfortable warmth of the indoors, you’ll definitely find what you’re looking for in Korea.

Korean: 부천 국제판타스틱영화제 (bucheon gukjepantaseutingnyeonghwaje)

Festival Dates: July

Website: Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival

 

Other Notable Festivals

Jeju Fire Festival (제주 들불축제)

Jeju Fire Festival was celebrated traditionally following the lunar calendar during the first full moon of the lunar year. However, these days the celebrations are usually held in March.  The celebration happens around Saebyeol Volcanic Cone in Jeju Island. Jeju Fire Festival is marked by bonfires, fireworks, and eating traditional food.

Seoul Kimchi Festival (서울김장문화제)

The Seoul Kimchi Festival usually happens in autumn. During this festival,  Kimchi takes center stage as Korea’s most iconic traditional food. Visitors and locals alike take part in Kimchi making (김장) and the traditions behind it.

Dano Festival (단오)

One of Korea’s major holidays, the Dano Festival happens on the fifth day of the fifth month of the lunar calendar. This day is often marked by south Koreans performing traditional rites: women wash their hair,  children would eat rice cakes, traditional food and play folk games to name a few. All of these rites are believed to bring good luck, good harvest, good health and ward off evil spirits.

Do you have a favorite Korean festival that’s not on the above list? Please let us know in the comments below so we can check it out!

    6 replies to "Korean Festivals – Music & Food Events in the South"

    • Avatar for JEAN JEAN

      THIS WEBSIDE IS NICE

    • Avatar for Lutrinae Lutrinae

      Hello 😀

      If I was to write down all of those festivals and put a title like “Autmun festivals”, how should I translate it?

      Thank you!

    • Avatar for Vladimir Vladimir

      Ꮲrobably one of my most liked websіtes to browse every morning with a mug of
      cⲟffee !

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