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Lighting up the night throughout the nation

Sept 09,2017
Fireworks light up the night sky at the Busan International Fireworks Festival 2016. This year’s festival will be held on Oct. 28, at Gwangalli Beach. [BUSAN METROPOLITAN CITY]
Lanterns float on the Nam River in Jinju, South Gyeongsang, at the Jinju Namgang Yudeung (Lantern) Festival, in 2016. The festival will be held from Oct. 1 to 15 this year. [JINJU CITY]
Just as Seoul celebrates the fresh autumn weather with fireworks to brighten up the night, other cities across the country also offer unique festivals that paint the night sky in colorful lights. From Asia’s biggest fireworks festival held in Busan to bright lanterns decorating the quiet riverside of the Nam River, Korea’s night skies will be filled with colorful treats throughout the fall.

The Busan International Fireworks Festival, first held in 2005, is the biggest of its kind in Asia, with over 1.4 billion won ($1.24 million) spent on the fireworks alone - it’s even said to be visible from Japan’s Tsushima Island. This year’s festival will be held on Oct. 28, at its usual venue on Gwangalli Beach. Since the ocean water prevents anything from catching fire, visitors can see the fireworks pouring down from the sky at a spectacular scale.

Hotels near the beach offer special fireworks packages for the night, such as Commodore Hotel Busan and the Haeundae Centum Hotel. Tickets for the event are available on Interpark, an online ticket marketplace.

Another festival in Busan is the Yeongdo Bridge Festival which is held from Sept. 15 to 17, with fireworks displays planned for both night of the festival. The festival is the only Korean festival to be held exclusively on a bridge, providing attendees a hands-on experience to learn about the modern and contemporary history of the Korean Peninsula. Dynamic Duo, a Korean hip-hop duo famous for their song, “Fireworks,” are scheduled to perform on the 16th to heighten the mood.

In nearby South Gyeongsang, two festivals offer a calmer atmosphere compared to the bombast of the Busan shows. The Gumi Nakdong River Fireworks Festival will be held on Sept. 23 for the second time. The Nam River will be lit up with lights from the Jinju Namgang Yudeung (Lantern) Festival from Oct. 1 through 15. The Jinju lantern festival will feature a fireworks show on the day of its opening to celebrate the 18th opening of the festival.

The Jinju festival is a memorial to General Kim Si-min of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), who defeated the Japanese invaders by lighting lanterns to flow on the river and fooling the enemy.

The 63rd Baekje Cultural Festival, which is held in Gongju and Buyeo, both in South Chungcheong, will be a weeklong celebration of the 700 years of history during the Baekje period, 18 B.C. to A.D. 660. From Sept. 29 to Oct. 5, the two cities, which were the capitals of the ancient nation, feature a variety of programs providing a look at traditional Korean culture as well as modern interpretations of Baekje artifacts. Fireworks will be on the show of the first day in Gongju on Sept. 29 with a colorful finale at the Buyeo site on Oct. 5.

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

Buses to Gumi are available at the Express Bus Terminal in southern Seoul and trains at Seoul Station in central Seoul. Buses to Gongju are also available at the Express Bus Terminal, and those who wish to travel to Buyeo must make their transfer at the Gongju Bus Terminal. Buses to Jinju are available at the Express Bus Terminal.

To make a reservation, visit www.kobus.co.kr.