The Andong Mask Festival in South Korea
The Andong Mask Festival is held yearly in Andong South Korea which is also referred to as the capital of Korean Traditional culture. Andong is most known for its Hahoe Folk Village which dates back to the 16th Century. During those days the Mask performances where held as shamanist rite addressing the spirits in the village. Read on to find out more about the Andong Mask Dance Festival.
Andong is a city located in the southeastern part of South Korea, known for its rich cultural heritage and traditional folk villages. It is often referred to as the “home of Confucianism” as it is the birthplace of many notable Confucian scholars.
The city is also known for its delicious local cuisine, including Andong Jjimdak, a spicy braised chicken dish, and Andong Soju, a type of rice wine. Additionally, Andong hosts an annual Mask Dance Festival, where performers showcase traditional Korean mask dances. Overall, Andong is a must-visit destination for those interested in South Korean culture and history.
Quick Facts About Andong Mask Festival
- Back in the days the Korean masks were used for different purposes like: war, ceremonial and shamanistic events and in theatrical plays.
- The festival evolved from being a shamanist into an occasion where the common people could make fun of the people with a higher power, like monks, noblemen and government officials.
- There are more than 250 types of mask dances in Korea. Andong is just one of them.
The Andong Mask Festival is a cultural celebration held annually in Andong, South Korea. The festival has its roots in ancient shamanistic beliefs and practices and is believed to have originated during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910).
The masks used in the festival are representative of various characters from Korean folklore and traditional performances, such as the Yangban (aristocrat), the Halmang (grandmother), and the Bune (fool). These masks are handmade using traditional methods and are considered a significant part of Korea’s intangible cultural heritage.
The Andong Mask Festival has been held since 1997 and has become one of the most popular cultural festivals in South Korea, attracting visitors from all over the world. The festival features various events, including mask dances, performances, parades, and exhibitions, providing an opportunity for locals and tourists alike to experience and appreciate the country’s rich cultural heritage.
Events At The Andong Mask Dance Festival
The 10 day festival takes place in downtown Andong (behind the Andong Station) and at the Andong Hahoe Village. The dates of the festival are different each year, but always falls at the end of September and beginning of October.
1. Events In Central Andong
Central Andong is the main area of the festival. The area consists of food stalls, small souvenir shops, craft stalls, and performance spaces.
FOOD AT THE FESTIVAL
Over 50 different food stalls are located at the back of the festival area and serve all kinds of food including mussels, jjimdak, samgyeopsal, bibimbab, kimbab, kimchi stew and much more. All food is served at a reasonable price.
Must try food and drinks at the festival is Jjimdak (traditional dish of Andong) and Andong Soju.
CRAFTS AT THE FESTIVAL
On the festival grounds you can find a few ‘mask decorating’ stalls. For only 5000 KW you get a cardboard mask and 5 different colours to decorate your mask with. It takes around 1 hour to finish the mask and it is a great experience, definitely recommendable for both children and adults.
PERFORMANCES AT THE FESTIVAL
There are two performance stages which both have their own program. You can check the line up here.
One performance you must watch is the Traditional Mask performance which is held every hour in the Maskdance Theater. The tickets are 5000 krw and the performance lasts 1 hour. The performance gives you a taste of how this would have been in the olden days. The show has the typical characters like the Evil Stepmother, the Grandmother, the Monk, the Innocent Girl, the Joker, the Wise Men and the Drunken Men.
2. Events In The Hahoe Folk Village
There are two types of events going on in the village: the mask performance and the fireworks. You can check the timetable here.
If this is your first time to the Hahoe village, check out this guide on what to do and see in the village.
Daily mask performances are held in the village itself. It is the same performance as the one in central Andong. The play has different characters including the Evil Stepmother, the Grandmother, the Monk, the Innocent Girl, the Joker, the Wise Men and the Drunken Men.
The fireworks are being held twice during the festival. Check timetable here.
The performance starts of at 7 PM at the Nakdong River. For the festival ropes were stretched across the river. At nightfall these were set on fire, which gave a wonderful effect as sparks started to rain down. At the same time burning hay balls were thrown down while flying lanterns were being lit. This was finished off by a small firework show.
How To Get To The Andong Mask Festival
1. From Seoul To Andong By Bus
You can get to Andong by bus from Seoul, this will take around 3 hours and should cost 16 000 won. There are two bus terminals that have busses to Andong: Gangnam Express Bus Terminal or East Express Bus Terminal. The buses are running every 30 minutes. If you are travelling in weekends, make sure to book your ticket in advance as buses are easily fully booked. Check prices and timetables here.
From the Andong Bus Terminal you need to take bus nr. 80,276,11,240,242,243,244,246,272,351,377,436,438,628 to Andong Train Station. It is a 17 minute ride. The festival grounds are just located behind the train station (5 minute walk).
1. From Andong To Andong Hahoe Village
You can reach Hahoe Village by bus 46, which should take 50 minutes from the train station and 1 hour from the Bus Terminal.
Must Buy Souvenirs From Andong
1. Hand Carved Masks
You can find these hand carved wooden masks in the Hahoe Folk Village or in souvenir shops downtown Andong.
This particular mask is of a Yangban Nobleman, which is one of the characters in the traditional Korean mask dance play.
These masks are meant as decoration only and not as a toy.
The mask can also be purchased online. Check latest prices here.
2. Mask Fridge Magnets
These mask are turned into cute little fridge magnets. You will mainly find them in sets of four. With the following characters: Yangban (nobleman), Baekjeong (Butcher), Gaksi (Bride) and Bune (mistress).
They are the perfect small souvenir to take back home to give to friends and family.
You can find these magnets in any souvenir shop around Korea or you can order them online. Check prices here.
Accommodation In Andong South Korea
- Gotaya Guesthouse is a cute guest house within walking distance of the festival grounds in central Andong. It is the perfect place to stay for backpackers on a budget. Check latest prices here.
- Suaedang Hanok Stay is a hanok guesthouse for people who are looking to have a traditional Hanok experience. This Hanok stay is only accessible by car. Check latest prices here.
- Okyeon Jeongsa is a Hanok stay in the center of the traditional Hahoe folk village. They serve a traditional breakfast to their guests in the morning. Check latest prices here.
Frequently Asked Questions
The Andong Mask Festival is an annual cultural event held in Andong, a city in South Korea. It features various traditional performances and activities, including mask dances, music, and craft exhibitions, showcasing the country’s rich cultural heritage.
The Andong Mask Festival is typically held in late September or early October, depending on the lunar calendar. The exact dates vary each year, so it’s best to check the official festival website or local tourist information for the most up-to-date schedule.
To participate in the Andong Mask Festival, you can purchase tickets online or at the festival venue. There are various events and performances throughout the festival, so it’s important to plan ahead and decide which ones you want to attend. Additionally, there are many opportunities to try on traditional masks, sample local food, and participate in hands-on activities like mask-making workshops.
Pretty cool masks, especially the ones you made. Love it.
I didn’t know about that festival !! Thank you for that complete article 🙂
If I ever visit Korea I am planning it around this festival.
Wow I have never heard of this festival before but it sounds so fascinating! From your photos I know it’s a place I’d love to check out some day!
This looks like a lot of fun!
Wow, what an amazing looking festival, I have never heard of it before. I love the mask design 🙂 x
The festival looks like so much fun. And Korean food is always delicious! I’ve never heard of this so thank you for sharing!
Pretty cool festival. I have a soft spot for all things Korean. I’d love to go there one day. Look like you guys had a blast.
something new for me 🙂 awesome and lovely!
Oh wow! This looks like so much fun! I love that you get to make your own mask too. Such a nice little memento xx
What an awesome festival! The masks you guys made are really cool too. I love reading posts like these because I may not see anything like this otherwise.
I’ve never heard of this, but it looks like so much fun!
I love this! i have always loved anything Korea.. Lol South korea at least . their meals are always delicious