Spring in Korea is the season of flowers, mild weather, and plenty of unique and interesting festivals. One such festival is the Mungyeong Traditional Chasabal Festival, held from April 30 to May 8, 2016 in Mungyeongsaejae KBS Drama Studio, the vicinity of Mungyeongsaejae Pass of Mungyeong City.
The festival venue, Mungyeongsaejae Provincial Park, is an area near an ancient road through a mountain pass built during the Joseon Dynasty (15th century). The pass once connected Gyeongsangbuk-do and Hanyang (old name of Seoul) and was the fastest and most traveled route across the mountain during the Joseon Dynasty. It was often traveled by seonbis (Confucian scholars of the Joseon Dynasty) on their way to Hanyang (Seoul) to take the gwageo (the highest-level state examination to recruit ranking officials during the Joseon Dynasty). Today, the area from Gate 1 to Gate 3 of the pass is designated as a provincial park.
At the annual Mungyeong Traditional Chasabal Festival held in the region, diverse programs are features during the period, including the International Exchange Exhibition for Chasabal, the Excellent Mungyeong Traditional Ceramic Ware Exhibition, and the National Grand Chasabal Contest. At the festival, visitors will be met with rows upon rows of tea bowls (locally called chasabal, 찻사발) produced by the nation's leading ceramic masters, as well as prize-winning tea bowls from local ceramic contests.
In addition to the surprising diversity of forms and functions of the chasabals on display and at the market, visitors will be able to make their own ceramics pieces, participate in tea programs, and take part in a range of other experience programs.
From the second your hands touch the clay on the potter's wheel, you will begin to see how much skill and care is needed to make even the simplest of clay forms. Every move of your hands and spin of the potter's wheel helps transform your lump of clay into a finished piece. After your piece is done, leave it at the pottery experience area to dry and stop back to pick it up on your way home. The participation fee for this activity is only 4,000 won (cash only), so it's a great opportunity for visitors to enjoy a unique experience and take home a handcrafted souvenir.
This is an opportunity to decorate and take home your own chasabal. Paint or write letters on a chasabal using glazes and a brush. Don't forget to put your name or initials on the bottom to identify your piece. Once the painting is done, the bowl will be set out to dry and will be fired later in the kiln. The final product will be sent to the mailing address you provide. The activity fee is 10,000 won and cost of delivery will be paid by receiver.
Darye (traditional tea ceremony) experience is held on a drama filming set in Mungyeongsaejae, in traditional hanok houses. Take a seat on the floor and relax as event volunteers wearing hanbok (traditional Korean costumes) brew tea and serve you in accordance with a traditional etiquette. Choose from a variety of Korean teas: omija (five-taste) tea, dandelion tea, green tea, or lotus leaf tea. You may enjoy your tea with tteok, traditional Korean rice cakes. The omija tea comes highly recommended, as it is a specialty of the Mungyeong region. Visitors can also sample makgeolli (traditional rice wine) and rice cakes made with omija. (Activity fee: 2,000 won)
Tip) Unique Activity to Experience During Festival Period
Besides making of ceramics or the traditional tea ceremony experience, make your trip to this festival even more memorable by dressing up in costumes from the Joseon dynasty. Travel back in time as you adorn the costumes of a queen, general or other royal figure and do not forget to take photos for mementos! (Activity fee: 4,000 won)
*This column was last updated on April 2016, and therefore information may differ from what is presented here. We advise you to check details from the official website before visiting.
<Last updated April 18, 2016>