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  • The Cultural Life to Enjoy in Seoul during Lunar New Year’s Holidays

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    Lunar New Year’s holidays are around the corner. Attention, please, if you want to spend a short but meaningful time! On this page, you can find the information from the “Seoul in the Palm of one’s Hand (http://mediahub.seoul.go.kr/)” about cultural programs, including experiences, exhibitions, and performances, that you can enjoy during the holidays. If you are going to stay in Seoul because your relatives are living in the big city or you are not planning to visit your hometown this year, you must pay attention to the information. Don’t hesitate to enjoy the cultural life lest you miss out on the preciousness of these holidays. Happy new year, everyone!

    Seasonal customs and traditional games for all members of your family!

    Greeting the Lunar New Year’s day, a great national holiday, special events will take place at cultural facilities conveying Seoul’s history and tradition to allow participants to experience seasonal customs and traditional games that are slowly becoming forgotten.


    Donuimun Museum Village

    At Donuimun Museum Village, the “Lunar New Year Greeting Festival” (Jan. 24-27) will take place. From performances like traditional Korean music and magic to folk games such as pitch-pot, top-spinning, and kicking jegi, as well as eating rice cake soup, pounding rice cake, and face painting with the illustration of a “mouse,” visitors can enjoy various performances, games, and experiences.

    At Unhyeongung Palace, which is called the hall of royal culture, the “Lunar New Year’s Festival” (Jan. 24-27) will take place as well. It is recommended to visit this cozy place to experience Korean traditional culture, including traditional performances and folk games like archery and playing yut, as well as stamping the lucky talisman for the new year.

    “Everyone’s Lunar New Year” (Jan. 24-27), the festival that will take place at Namsangol Hanok Village, will include the mask dance with twelve terrestrial branches, street performances, demonstration of a memorial service table, and other special performances ushering in the Lunar New Year.


    Seoul Baekje Museum

    Events to welcome the Lunar New Year will also take place at iconic museums in Seoul. On January 26 (Sun.), you are able to partake in the “Lunar New Year’s Festival” at the Seoul Museum of History and the “Lunar New Year’s Museum Festival” at Seoul Baekje Museum to spend a joyful day while watching traditional performances, playing an array of folk games, and attending special exhibitions.


    Sejong Center “The Tempest” (left) and Seoul Namsan Traditional Theater “Complete Collection” (right)

    Excursions to performance theaters are recommended for families who love music!

    Embracing the Lunar New Year, performances that can be enjoyed by all family members will be on stage. Be sure to visit the Sejong Center, Seoul Namsan Traditional Theater, or Seoul Donhwamun Traditional Theater to enjoy a musical, Gyeonggi folk song performance, or pansori!

    For the families who bring along their children, “The Tempest,” the family musical as an easy-reading Shakespeare series, is recommended. Your eyes will surely become satisfied with the dramatic imagination, beautiful music, and colorful dance composing Shakespeare’s masterpiece. The Tempest will be staged until February 2 at the Sejong Center.

    On January 26, Seoul Namsan Traditional Theater will stage “Complete Collection,” the special performance for the Lunar New Year. The “Gyeonggi Sound Project Group Nabi,” whose members are the heirs of the Gyeonggi folk song, designated as National Intangible Cultural Property no. 57, together with Lee Hui-mun, an idiomatic singer, will let the audience feel the depth of the Korean traditional sound based on the analysis of the Gyeonggi folk songs of the 1970s-1980s.

    From January 22 to 31, Seoul Donhwamun Traditional Theater will stage “Oh Dan-hae’s Desire.” Singer Oh Dan-hae, the heir of pansori Simcheongga, the National Intangible Cultural Property no. 5, will deliver a touching performance that comforts contemporaries who want to rekindle feelings of their youth.


    Seoul Museum of Art

    A time for unwinding with exhibitions

    Visiting art museums with your friends, loved ones, or family is also recommended. You can see “Gohyang: Home,” the exhibition of works from the Middle Eastern and Arabian cultures under the theme, “homeland,” at the Seoul Museum of Art (until Mar. 8). At the Children’s Gallery of Buk-Seoul Museum of Art, an exhibition entitled “Square See Triangle” will also let children understand contemporary arts in an easy and interesting manner (until Mar. 10).

    In this Year of the Rat, learn about the story of the mice and rats at the zoo.

    From January 22 to 26 (from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.), greeting the Year of the Rat, the zoo of the Seoul Grand Park will operate an educational program, “Be Joyous and Confident This Year” at the book cafe in the zoo. The program enables participants to learn about the story of the mouse, its biological characteristics and related tales. Participants can also conduct missions like solving quizzes and pitch-pot, as well as see Rodentia, including guinea pigs and capybaras, in the zoo.

    ■ Culture & Arts Programs during Lunar New Year’s holidays

    Culture & Arts Programs during Lunar New Year’s holidays
    No. Title Date & Time Location Entrance Fee Contact
    1 Donuimun Museum Village,  “Lunar New Year Greeting Festival” Jan. 24 (Fri.) – 27 (Mon.)
    10:00 – 19:00
    Donuimun Museum Village Free www.dmvillage.info
    +82-2-739-6994
    2 Unhyeongung Palace “Lunar New Year’s Festival” Jan. 24 (Fri.) – 27 (Mon.)
    11:00 – 17:00
    Unhyeongung Palace Free www.dmvillage.info
    +82-2-766-9090
    3 Namsangol Hanok Village “Everyone’s Lunar New Year” Jan. 24 (Fri.) – 26 (Sun.)
    11:00 – 17:00
    Namsangol Hanok Village Free
    (fees for some experiences)
    www.hanokmaeul.or.kr
    +82-2-2266-6924
    4 Seoul Baekje Museum “Lunar New Year’s Museum Festival” Jan. 26 (Sun.)
    10:00 – 18:00
    Seoul Baekje Museum Free baekjemuseum.seoul.go.kr
    +82-2-2152-5846
    5 Seoul Museum of History “Lunar New Year’s Festival” Jan. 26 (Sun.)
    12:00 – 16:00
    Seoul Museum of History Free museum.seoul.go.kr
    +82-2-724-0171
    6 Family Musical “The Tempest” Jan. 10 (Fri.) – 2.2 (Sun.) M Theatre, Sejong Center R: KRW 40,000
    S: KRW 30,000
    A: KRW 20,000
    www.sejongpac.or.kr
    +82-2-399-1000
    7 Gyeonggi Sound Project Group Nabi’s “Complete Collection” Jan. 26 (Sun.)
    15:00, 19:00
    Crown Haetae Hall, Seoul Namsan Traditional Theater KRW 30,000 for all seats www.hanokmaeul.or.kr
    +82-2-2261-0500
    8 Monolog Musical “Oh Dan-hae’s Desire” Jan. 22 (Wed.) – 31 (Fri.) Seoul Donhwamun Traditional Theater KRW 20,000 for all seats sdtt.or.kr/user/program/2020/1/624
    +82-2-3210-7001
    9 Gohyang: Home Nov. 27, 2019 (Tues.)
    – Mar. 8, 2020 (Sun.)
    Seoul Museum of Art Free sema.seoul.go.kr
    +82-2-2124-8939
    10 Square See Triangle Oct. 8, 2019 (Tues.) – Mar. 10, 2020 (Tues.) Children’s Gallery, Buk-Seoul Museum of Art Free sema.seoul.go.kr
    +82-2-2124-5272