If there’s one thing about Korea I’d love to take back to South Africa, it’s their ability not only to host, but also to come out in droves to support, an amazing festival.
Last weekend, I went to the 2016 Colorful Daegu Welcome Festival at the Gukchaebosung Memorial Park in the Jung-gu District (next to the Daegu Metropolitan Jungang Library). The festival was hosted by the Daegu Metropolitan City as a welcoming ceremony for the city’s expat community.
The festival was a great opportunity for Koreans and their international guests to share their culture with each other. There were people from all over the world – from Vietnam to Russia, France to Germany, and even Latin America.
The Daegu Fire Department offered free safety lessons for adults and children, the oriental clinic offered free medical advice and acupuncture and there were special booths campaigning against child abuse. There was also a booth where expats could go to find our more about their human rights during their stay in South Korea.
Don’t get me started on the free food. They had: curry, ice cream, rice balls, rice puffs, apples (Daegu is renowned for its juice apples) water fountains everywhere and, my favourite of all, free coffee (iced, because apparently Daegu is the Africa of Korea).
I think it’s quite special how many activities there are for children – from face painting and colouring activities to an assortment of crafts and photo booths. There were stalls showcasing traditional Korean instruments, a Russian lady charmed everyone with her food and tea, the French had a large poster each passerby had to colour in, and the Vietnamese had these amazing toys that baffled your mind (how does that dragonfly stay balanced on the tip of your finger?)
There is this group, working with the City of Daegu and Art Factory Cheongchun, that takes expats on cultural trips in and around the city all-year round – absolutely free. During the festival they invited people to share their experiences of the city on their wall:
(For more pictures, visit my Facebook page.)
Festivals in Korea draw large crowds, and those of us who stayed until the end were not disappointed. The large stage in the middle of the park was graced by a myriad of thrilling acts, from singing and dancing to the traditional Korean Ribbon Dance and traditional drumming.
But instead of me telling you about the festival, allow me to show you: