I am the manager of Gangneung Tours!
I would like to explain the Gangneung Danoje Festival which was designated as the National Intangible Cultural Property No. 13 and selected as UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
With 1000 years of history, the festival ran from Monday, June 3, 2019, to Monday, June 10.
This festival is a millennial festival that continued and survived during the Japanese colonial era and the Korean war.
When Gangneung was an ancient country called Dongye, there was a festival called Mucheon, so people sang and danced for gods and wished them a safe and peaceful year.
It became the root of the Gangneung Danoje Festival and has continued for a thousand years.
May 5 of the lunar calendar is the Dano Day, where the sun rises the highest of the year.
Gangneung Danoje Festival, where gods and humans meet to present a good day, was held on the largest scale
in Namdaecheon Stream in Gangneung for eight days around May 5 of the lunar calendar.
On May 5 of the lunar calendar, this festival begins by brewing rice wine for gods with collected rice.
At the top of Daegwallyeong, this festival holds a memorial service for General Kim Yu-sin, the god of Daegwallyeong.
General Kim Yu-sin came to Gangneung to study abroad when he was young, and he trained in swordsmanship.
After he died, he became the guardian spirit of Daegwallyeong and is still protecting Gangneung and Daegwallyeong.
Then we follow the old road and hold Daegwallyeong Guardian God Festival,
Gusan Festival of the Local God and Haksan Festival of the Local God, and
Daegwallyeong Guardian Goddess Enshrining Festival to hold a memorial service for
the Daegwallyeong Guardian God at Daegwallyeong Guardian Goddess Tutelary Shrine.
To move the Daegwallyeong Guardian God and the Daegwallyeong Guardian Goddess
at the Daegwallyeong Guardian Goddess Tutelary Shrine to the Namdaecheon Shrine,
we hold a memorial service at the Guksaseonghwangsa Shrine located in Hongje-dong (neighborhood).
Then the yeongsin march is held to take the ancestral tablets of
the Daegwallyeong Guardian couple to the Namdaecheon Shrine.
Following the march, the road game performance is held by residents of 21 townships in
Gangneung and is regarded as the essence of Korean road games.
Gangneung Dano Festival Performance is one of the most important attractions of the Gangneung Danoje Festival,
which begins with brewing new rice wine on April 5 of the lunar calendar and takes place in Gangneung.
During the Gangneung Danoje Festival, the Gangneung Dano Festival Performance is held at
the Dano Altar located at the top of Namdaecheon Stream for five days from May 3 of the lunar calendar.
You can enjoy colorful props and performances through the performance.
Gwanno Mask Theater of Gangneung is the only pantomime masque performance in Korea,
where performers only show you dance and movements.
The ferformance features a yangban (nobleman) and gaksi (doll bride), two dancers,
two yangban servants and musicians.
It consists of a story of love, misunderstanding and reconciliation of the yangban and gaksi, with five chapters.
<Tasting Surichui Rice Cake and Dano Rice Wine>
The residents of Gangneung volunteerly present rice for brewing rice wine to pray for the peace of their families.
More than 5,000 households usually participate in the event and the amount of rice gathered reaches 170 bags.
This collected rice is used to make rice cake and wine for the festival.
At the Dano Experience Village, visitors can experience a taste of surichui rice cake and
dano rice wine to prevent disease and disaster in the coming summer.
<Dano Tea Experience: 2,000 won / Tea Ceremony Experience: 5,000 won><drawing of Dano Fan: 3,000 won (smalls size) / 5,000 won (large size)>
<Washing Hair with Water Infused with Sweet Flags: 2,000 won> <Drawing of Slave Mask: 3,000 won>
Visitors can also enjoy various experiences such as tea ceremony, Drawing of Slave Mask,
Washing Hair with Water Infused with Sweet Flags, drawing of dano fan and tasting of dano tea.
It is said that if you wash your hair with water infused with sweet flags,
you can chase bad ghosts so that you won’t get dandruff or skin disease in the wet summer.
The folk games enjoyed in the festival, such as the Korean wrestling competition, the swing competition, and tuho competition, are the best games that everyone can enjoy together.
There were a variety of performances such as invitational performances of intangible cultural assets,
the Gangneung dialect competition and samulnori competition.
A feast of fireworks celebrated the beginning and end of the Gangneung Danoje Festival.
The atmosphere of the festival was even more ripe with the dano lights which beautifully decorated the streets at night.
The fireworks are one of the largest fireworks festivals in Korea and the must-see in the Gangneung Danoje Festival.
On fireworks day, the streets were crowded with Gangneung residents.
The Gangneung Danoje Street Market is Korea’s largest street market,
and it is a must-visit course in Gangneung Danoje Festival because there were many folk arts and
regional products from home and abroad.
The market also offers a variety of easy-to-eat foods that you can enjoy while walking around the market.
[Source] Instagram @mugeummm
The market serves visitors with a lot of delicious foods such as seasoned acorn jelly salad and potato pancake,
which are local foods of Gwangwon-do Province.
At the end of the festival there is a ritual to bring the guardians back to the mountain.
Shamans perform a 40-day ritual for the gods and finished the festival by burning all ritual items.
Gangneung people held a festival of joy on a happy day and a festival of comfort on a sad day.
Gangneung Danoje Festival has been around for 1000 years with the lives of the people.
Gangneung Danoje Festival was selected as a UNESCO Humanity Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2005
for the first time in Korean festivals, with the review that “It is a miracle that such a festival still remains.”
@Gangneung Danoje Festival Website
@Gangneung Danoje Festival Instagram