2014 Seoul Kimchi Making & Sharing Festival
The Seoul Metropolitan Government is hosting the 2014 Kimchi Making and Sharing Festival. The festival was organized with the purpose of promoting and revitalizing “kimjang culture,” which was registered as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2013 but has been gradually disappearing from the lives of Koreans.
Kimjang is a traditional Korean event where kimchi is made and shared. Listed as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage, it is a unique part of Korean food culture.
Kimjang is the process of preparing and preserving large amounts of kimchi to last through the winter. Kimchi is a spicy vegetable dish made with unique Korean seasonings and seafood and preserved in a unique way. According to historical records, Koreans were eating kimchi as far back as 760 years ago. Transcending class and regional differences, kimchi is a staple of almost all Korean meals. A bowl of rice and kimchi is all that is needed to make a simple meal. However, kimchi is a dish that is always present, even at the most luxurious banquets.
< Making and Sharing >
The festival is the largest “Kimchi Making” festival to date, with over 6,000 participants joining in the making of 255 tons of kimchi. It will take place on a strip of land that is 1.1km long, with a total floor space of 30,500m2. Also, the kimchi made during this festival will be donated to about 25,000 underprivileged people, including the elderly living alone, low-income families, and people living in welfare facilities.
The 2014 Seoul Kimchi Making and Sharing Festival will be held from November 14 (Fri) to 16 (Sun), which is the best season to make kimchi, according to the old Korean saying, “Kimjang should begin at the onset of winter marked by the lunar calendar.” The festival will take place in Seoul at the Gwanghwamun and Cheonggye Plazas as well as in Sejong-ro Park and along Taepyeong-ro.
Under the theme of “Making and Sharing, a New Beginning for Korean Kimjang,” the Kimchi Making and Sharing Festival will consist of about 20 programs in five categories: 1) Making and Sharing, Kimjang Sharing (sharing), 2) The History and Future of Kimchi at a Glance (exhibition), 3) Making My Own Kimchi (experience), 4) Tasting and Purchasing Kimchi (market and tasting centers), and 5) Kimchi-themed Cultural Programs (culture).
“Seoul, Let’s Run Along the Kimchi Road” is a race that will be held during the festival. A total of 2,000 Seoul citizens, divided into the Cabbage Team and Radish Team, will race to deliver 10 tons of cabbage that has been piled at both ends of a 200m strip of Sejong-daero. The race will take place on Sejong-daero at 2 pm on November 16 (Sun).
A number of interesting and innovative cultural programs will also be held as part of the festival. These programs include “This is Kimchi,” a large-scale kimchi public art project where six teams of young artists will showcase media art, photography, and a character called “Kimchi Monster,” reinterpreting kimchi in various artistic genres.
< Ingredients for Kimchi >
Also being held in Gwanghwamun Plaza and along Taepyeong-ro are “My Name is Mom,” a wellness program for mothers, the main participants in kimchi making, and the “Taepyeong 3 Day Market,” where people can purchase ingredients for kimchi at 20 percent below the market price.
At Gwanghwamun Plaza, an exhibition will be held titled “Kimjang, The Wisdom of Time”. This exhibit will showcase various and rare types of kimchi, such as kimchi that was served at royal meals and temples and kimchi made by jongbu, the wife of the master of a family clan. It will offer an opportunity for people to look back into the history of kimchi and get a glimpse of its future as well. In particular, on-site interviews will be conducted with Naver to record how jongbu make kimchi, the recipe for which has been handed down from one jongbu to the next without being written down, as well as to document and register it as a “Jongga (the family of the master of a clan)-inherited Fermented Food” on the list of cultural assets.
The 6th Seoul Lantern Festival will be held at the Cheonggyecheon from November 7 (Fri) to 23 (Sun), where citizens can enjoy the Kimchi Making and Sharing Festival during the day and the colorful lanterns at the Cheonggyecheon at night. Furthermore, the first “Day of Foreign Embassies in Korea” Festival will be held from November 14 (Fri) to 16 (Sun) in the northern part of Gwanghwamun Plaza. About 70 foreign embassies in Korea will participate in the event, allowing Koreans to enjoy culture and food from various countries.
< Flash Market – Munho-ri River Market >
“The Kimchi Making and Sharing Festival will be a great opportunity for us to revive our communal culture of sharing and cooperation, and also to spread the word about Korea’s kimjang culture,” said Seoul Mayor Park Won Soon. “We will develop the festival into an event that people around the world can enjoy together, thereby creating new values. And we will work hard to contribute to the development of the Korean food industry through kimchi.”
The Seoul Metropolitan Government plans on fostering and elevating the Kimchi Making and Sharing Festival to the ranks of other global cultural festivals, such as Carnival in Brazil, Oktoberfest in Germany, and the Sapporo Snow Festival in Japan.