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Hanbok Culture Week goes coast to coast: Culture Ministry announces a slew of events celebrating the nation’s iconic traditional dress

Oct 18,2018
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Models pose at Cheongnyangni Station, central Seoul, where a train featuring a fashion show onboard left on Tuesday. The fashion show, featuring 40 hanbok (traditional Korean dress) created by four designers, took off from Cheongnyangni to Kim Yu-jeong Station in Gangwon, followed by a tour around the station. [MINISTRY OF CULTURE, SPORTS AND TOURISM]
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The Hanbok Culture Week features a hanbok market event, such as the one pictured above in January. Right, hanbok ambassador and singer Kim Jae-kyung took part in the opening ceremony. [MINISTRY OF CULTURE, SPORTS AND TOURISM]
October is said to be the best month to wear the traditional Korean dress hanbok, because the cool weather and clear air are just right for the garment’s long sleeves and skirt. To make the most out of October, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism kicked off the 2018 Hanbok Culture Week on Monday in 10 cities.

Hanbok Day is Oct. 21, a day that was proclaimed in 1996 by the Culture Ministry and those working in the hanbok industry. It was dedicated to spreading and preserving the tradition of hanbok, taking a day or two every autumn to celebrate the beauty and tradition of the garment. Whereas the main events for Hanbok Day had previously taken place on an October weekend in Seoul, this event takes place over a whole week, and in various regions across the country to encourage more people to take part in the festivities. This year’s Hanbok Week has the theme “Everyday as hanbok, hanbok as everyday.”

The event began with an opening ceremony held in Jeonju, North Jeolla, Monday evening at Gyeonggijeon Shrine. Models strut down the runway wearing hanbok designed by the late designer Lee Young-hee who pioneered the hanbok industry. One of the models was singer Kim Jae-kyung, who has been appointed as the honorary hanbok ambassador for this year, along with actor Woo Do-hwan.

The Hanbok Culture Week revolves around five main sections: Special hanbok-related programs that have been organized by various 10 regional governments, discounted admissions to 36 cultural institutions, discounts at 576 hanbok shops and other antique shops around the country, fashions shows for the hanbok design competition and a seminar featuring experts from various fields.

The 10 regions - Seoul, Jeonju, Yangpyeong County (Gyeonggi), Suncheon (South Jeolla), Chuncheon (Gangwon), Cheongju (North Chungcheong), Daejeon, Daegu, Busan and Jeungpyeong County (North Chungcheong) - have put together an assortment of traditional activities. On Tuesday afternoon, four designers put together a total of 40 hanbok to show to the passengers riding the Gyeongchun Line from Seoul’s Cheongnyangni Station to the Kim Yu-jeong Station in Chuncheon. The train ride was followed by a tour around the station, which is built in a typical hanok (traditional Korean housing) style, and a visit to the Museum of Books and Printing near the station.

Major programs in Seoul include a flash mob set to take place in Sinchon, western Seoul, made up of hanbok lovers of all nationalities at 6 p.m. on Friday, a multimedia art performance taking place outside the eastern garden of Coex, southern Seoul, until Sunday, and a chance to try out the ceremonial wedding hanbok worn during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) at the Unhyeon Palace, central Seoul, until Friday. The hanbok flash mob is the second of the global promotion series, the first gathering taking place in Jeonju on Monday. Two more will take place in Suncheon and Busan on Saturday evening.

During Hanbok Culture Week, 36 cultural institutes will offer either free or discounted admission to visitors wearing hanbok, along with special programs set up for the week, such as a 20 percent discount to the “Fantasia Joseon: Kim Saejong Minhwa Collection” exhibit taking place in the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts. Seven museums, two art museums and four theaters are offering similar benefits.

For those who would like to take the week as an opportunity to actually get themselves their own hanbok, 576 hanbok stores in traditional markets around the country will offer discounts. Nearly 200 shops are located inside Gwangjang Market in central Seoul, while around 300 shops can be found in Busan’s Jin Market. There are 20 shops in Jeonju’s Hanok Village, six shops on Daejeon’s Wedding Street and four shops on Daegu’s Wedding Street.

To wrap up Hanbok Culture Week in Seoul, a hanbok market will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday to Sunday at S Factory in Seongsu-dong, eastern Seoul. Forty brands selling fashionable hanbok at a reasonable prices will be in attendance. On Friday night, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., there will be a hanbok dance party held at the venue. Anyone can join - as long as you’re wearing hanbok.

“We hope Hanbok Culture Week becomes an opportunity for people to enjoy hanbok in their everyday lives, regardless of where they live,” said the Culture Ministry.

BY YOON SO-YEON [yoon.soyeon@joongang.co.kr]