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Revisit Joseon era at royal culture festival

  • Published : Apr 25, 2016 - 17:16
  • Updated : Apr 25, 2016 - 17:16

Actors reenact King Yeongjo’s daily routine at the 2015 Royal Culture Festival. (Cultural Heritage Administration)
At the 2016 Royal Culture Festival, visitors to major royal palaces in Seoul will be able to immerse themselves in the royal lifestyle of the Joseon era (1392-1910).

From April 28 to May 8, Joseon-era palaces -- Gyeongbokgung, Changdeokgung, Changgyeonggung and Deoksugung -- and Jongmyo Shrine will host a 10-day celebration of Joseon royal life.

In its second year, the festival will hold some 30 programs consisting of concerts, performances, culinary events and exhibitions at the four major palaces and Jongmyo Shrine.

At Gyeongbokgung Palace, the 41st birthday celebration of King Gojong will be reenacted at the king’s office building of Guenjeongjeon from May 5-7. The original birthday celebration held in 1892 was the last palace celebration of the Joseon era. The celebration was first reproduced by experts and the Cultural Heritage Administration, organizer of the festival, in 2005.

“We are going to bring in visitors to take part in the reenactment of the birthday celebration. They can sit in the area, allocated to civil service officers in old royal events, and celebrate the event from the perspective of Joseon officials. They can also share food distributed by the king to his subjects,” said Sohn Hyeong-chae, director of the organizing committee for the 2016 Royal Culture Festival, at a news conference Monday.

(Cultural Heritage Administration)
Royal music of Japan, Thailand and Vietnam will be performed in the front courtyard of Heungryemun Gate of Gyeongbokgung Palace from April 30-May 7. Musicians and performers from three countries have been invited to perform their own royal music -- from Thailand‘s Chakri Dynasty, Vietnam‘s Nguyen Dynasty and Japan’s Gagaku music.

At Changdeokgung Palace, visitors will be able to consult with Oriental medicine doctors dressed in Joseon royal doctors’ garb from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on May 5-8. Pavilions in the rear garden of Changdeokgung Palace will serve as quiet reading places for visitors with books from April 29-May 8.

On May 5, Changgyeonggung Palace will set its clocks back to 1750, during King Yeongjo’s reign, for a reenactment of the monarch’s daily routine. Those who register for the event in advance will be able to participate as actors in old Joseon costumes to act as the King’s servants and officials.

Concerts of various genres of music, ranging from traditional Korean gugak music to orchestral music, will create a festive mood at the four palaces and Jongmyo Shrine after 7 p.m.

For more information, visit www.royalculturefestival.org.

By Lee Woo-young (wylee@heraldcorp.com)