Take a Walk Back in Time to the Jo-seon Era

김강산, 이도현, 최재훈l승인2015.05.18l수정2015.05.22 02:07l338호 4면

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Nowadays there are no boring traditional cultural experiences. Everyone can enjoy the traditional culture experience of the Korean Folk Village. The Korean Folk Village is currently hosting an event called, ‘Welcome to Jo-seon’ which brings to life the different characters from the Jo-seon Dynasty and helps visitors, experience the period of time and their way of life.

At the Hwa-seong Temporary Palace, you can see King Jung-jo’s royal guards known as Jang-yong-yeong while, the king and queen stroll throughout the palace. Jang-yong-yeong’s Consciousness Level is one of the opening shows at the Hwa-seong Temporary Palace.

The Dankook Herald (DKH) visited Hwa-seong Haeng-gung in Suwon to watch the military training of courageous soldiers of the Jang-yong-yeong. This and other equal impressive events are held every Sunday from March to October, beginning at 2 p.m.

When the Jang-yong-yeong Guards Ceremony began, a soldier announced the beginning of the ceremony by heating on a drum. Jang-yong-yeong soldiers left Nam-gun-yeong and entered the door where the King would appear, ollowing the order of Seon-jeon-gwan. After Byeong-jo Pan-seo, the defense master, sent down the royal order to the Jang-yong-yeong soldiers, archers entered the facility for military training. Then the door-opening began. King Jeong-jo visited the place to survey the on-going military training. The King, together with his court ladies, and eunuchs walked around and shook hands with the troops. Sightseers are able to experience the process up close. After the King heads for Sin-pung-ru, as the military training continues. Some of soldiers shoot rifles using a jo-chong which is an antique gun and others shoot arrows into cattle pieces. The King praises the worriers and leaves as the training finishes. The door is then closed and the event comes to an end as the soldiers return to the Nam-gun-yeong.

▲ Jang-yong-yeong Guards Ceremony

Afterwards, there was time to take photos with the participants. People could take pictures with King Jeong-jo, the court ladies, and eunuchs in Hwa-seong Haeng-gung. The photo time was not long, so if you plant to visit, you should try to get there immediately after the ceremony concludes.

People also had an opportunity to experience the court life of the Jo-seon dynasty. Visitors could make traditional rice cake and eat In-jeol-mi which is a rice cake covered with bean powder. Each location offered up a stamp for participants so they could keep track of all the places they experienced. The Stamps themselves were free but the paper used to collect the stamps had to be purchased for 500 won. However if you had your own paper, you could use that too.

People also could take the Hwa-seong Trolley to all the site’s locations. It operates from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. The train does not run on rainy or snowy days and it is not free. The engine of the train is shaped in the form of a dragon’s head symbolizing the royal authority of King Jeong-jo and its strong driving force. The passenger cars resemble the king's sedan chair displaying the royal authority as well as for the convenience of spectators.

The Korean Folk Village offered four performances: ‘Nong-ak’, tightrope walking, martial arts on the horse back, and a traditional wedding. Nogak is a traditional music performance designed to encourage a rich year. It includes a lot of opportunities for the audience to also take part too. They performed the Burna spin, danced, and played the Korean traditional instrument, the Samulnori. The Korean Folk Village’s tightrope walk is designated as an intangible cultural asset. Hong, Gi-chul a tightrope working expert leads the performance while walking and talking on the tightrope; he joked with the audience, and spoke extemporaneously with them.

Recently, the Korean Folk Village launched a special festival, called the Jo-seon Cultural Festival. This festival includes a variety of interactive shows and workshops; for people to participate in.

A popularity vote for the characters of the Jo-seon Dynsaty era is the first thing you experience during the festival. Walking around the compound, you will see many strange people, dressed in traditional Jo-seon era costumes roaming all around the village. The people are characters from the Jo-seon period such as a ‘crazy woman’, a ‘drunken man’, the ‘Jo-seon police’, or a ‘Jo-seon nurse’. Their job is to have fun with tourists and people get to vote for the character they thought was the most fun.

Along with the festival, you can take part in see plenty of traditional workshops. There is a fan making workshop, a pottery workshop, a tobacco pipe workshop and many others. Moreover, visitors can not only learn how traditional items were made, but also buy the handmade items from them. Workshops handle ‘easy to make’ items and, offer opportunities for tourists to make their own. People can also participate in activities such as household chores using traditional equipment or traditional methods. Those activities include ironing, grinding crops, sorting crops and carrying Korean A-frame, which is a traditional carrying device carried by one’s bag.

▲ Jo-seon characters are performing a show.

The final show of the festival was Jo-seon District Magistrate’s birthday party. This party started with the parade of the Lord Gob. Lord Gob is one of the Jo-seon characters who was rich and noble. His parade course took him to the Magistrate’s birthday party. He caught up with a few tourists and talked with them as he made his way to Jo-seon government office. Topics of the conversations were random and he was quick-witted, so he always chose different topics and made people laugh. After he arrived at the birthday party, he took part in the festivities.

The charters of the birthday party performed a comedy show. They performed a slapstick comedy and funny dances. The birthday party performance centers around the theft of the District Magistrate’s birthday gift and the performers try to find out who stole his present. However, the Secret Royal Inspector found out that the present was made from the use of tax money, so he arrests the District Magistrate.

There are other activities sponsored by the ‘Welcome to Jo-seon’ committee at the Korean Folk Village. Visitors can go to the Yeop-jeon currency exchange and change their money to Jo-seon era-money. There are also other activities like making Ma-pae which is the Secret Royal Inspector’s symbol, or making Ho-pae the Jo-seon identification card. You can also see how they made Go-mu-sin the shoes worn during the Jo-seon Dynasty, and wear the traditional clothes from the period. The village also has more activities such as riding a boat or a horse, experiencing farming and their general way of life during that period in our history.

Spring has already come, and good sunny warm weather is beginning. Nowadays it’s really good to go outside and have fun, so why not visit our special traditional villages? These places provide many different kinds of activities for you to join. People may think visiting museums and learning about our traditional life are boring. Based on our experiences we can tell you this is not true. People can enjoy their day at the same time learning about our Jo-seon era history.


김강산, 이도현, 최재훈  140339@naver.com
<저작권자 © The Dankook Herald, 무단 전재 및 재배포 금지>

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